McALLEN — A typical narcotics investigation at a quiet McAllen neighborhood led to the biggest heroin bust in the history of the police department.
Monday afternoon, police seized 47 pounds of white heroin and 116 pounds of cocaine from an apartment in the 500 block of West Wichita, police Chief Victor Rodriguez said.
At the scene, police arrested 20-year-old Jose Rolando Ocampo, an undocumented immigrant from the Mexican state of Michoacán. Ocampo was charged with one count of possession of cocaine and one count of possession of heroin. His bond was set at $1 million.
The heroin, which was in its purest form, was packaged in bricks showing that they were en route to another area and not for local consumption.
The drug bricks had numbering on them and stickers of various superheroes.
“The stickers stand for a city and the numbers are for the amount to be delivered,” Rodriguez said of the unusual inventory control system. “Say you had Spider-Man and the number five: That meant that it was the fifth package for that city.”
Investigators are working to trace back the heroin to other smugglers and to the criminal organization that it belongs to.
“You can’t do something like this on your own,” Rodriguez said. “We have no doubt that he belongs to a criminal organization.”
Rodriguez said that even with the increased focus on border security, his department continues to make large drug seizures on a regular basis.
“Even with the enforcement, the drugs are still coming through,” Rodriguez said. “If they move forward with federal spending cuts, we will be seeing more of this getting through.”
Asked whether the Sinaloa Cartel — one of the Mexican cartels known to grow the plant from which heroin is made — was one the organizations that they were looking at, Rodriguez said yes.
In recent years, the Sinaloa Cartel has shown an increased presence in northern Tamaulipas as the organization has allied with the Gulf Cartel seeking to control drug trade routes. The Gulf Cartel has controlled most of the northern Tamaulipas drug trade routes for decades.
Ildefonso Ortiz covers courts, law enforcement and general assignments for The Monitor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, (956) 683-4437 or on Twitter, @ildefonsoortiz.