20 charged in drug tracking case linked to cartel

November 16, 2011 - 3:20 PM

CHICAGO (AP) — Federal authorities say 20 people in Illinois and Texas face charges in an alleged drug trafficking network involving the Zetas drug cartel of Mexico.

The joint FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration investigation netted more than $12.4 million in cash seizures and approximately 250 kilograms of cocaine in the Chicago area.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald announced the charges Wednesday in Chicago. The 20 defendants were charged in separate indictments and face charges including conspiracy to possess and distribute quantities of cocaine.

Twelve were arrested in Chicago and one in Laredo, Texas, on Tuesday. They remain in federal custody. One person already was in custody and another is being hospitalized. Authorities say five are fugitives.