Authorities announce dozens of indictments, six club closures

(WMC-TV) - Dozens of drug indictments and arrests, along with the closure of six predominately Hispanic clubs, were announced Friday in Memphis.

The U.S. Attorney, Memphis Police Director, District Attorney and Shelby County Sheriff announced the results of the year-long investigation during a joint news conference this afternoon.

"This investigation began about a year ago last December," said US Attorney Edward Stanton, III.

There are 32 defendants indicted on either federal or state charges, and all are connected to the Victor Sotelo Morales drug trafficking organization.

"None of the individuals standing her today will tolerate Memphis, Tennessee or West Tennessee being used as a distribution center for narcotics," said Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich.

Officials said local nightclubs, including La Stampida on White Station, served as distribution points in the Memphis area for large amounts of cocaine brought in from Texas and Mexico.

"You know, we will continue to attack these drug trafficking organizations and our ultimate goal is their destruction, and with the help of these guys that's what we will continue to thrive for," DEA Agent in Charge Ron Chambers said.

Star WIlburn recently opened StarStylez Beauty Studio next door to La Stampida.

"Basically, when we're leaving they're coming in," said Wilburn.  "We start hearing the Mexican music and all of that."

This investigation is ongoing, and has so far resulted in the recovery of approximately 45 kilos of cocaine and $1.6 million in suspected drug proceeds.

If convicted, those charged face between 10 years to life in prison.

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