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Federal and State Authorities in North Carolina Announce 'Operation Smokescreen'Aired July 21, 2000 - 3:51 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDRIA HALL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Andria Hall at the CNN Center in Atlanta. We have breaking news for you now. Federal authorities and state authorities in Charlotte, North Carolina announcing a three and a half year undercover operation called "Operation Smokescreen." Let's listen in to the press conference that is still going on right now.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shortly after 6:00 a.m. this morning, in connection with Operation Smokescreen, nearly 230 federal, state and local law enforcement agents began the process of executing 18 arrest warrants based on 18 federal criminal complaints, and executed 18 search warrants at residences and businesses in and around the Charlotte area, and in Matthews, Concord and Lexington, North Carolina. The charges contained in 18 federal criminal complaints include conspiracy to violate and violations of federal immigration and naturalization laws, conspiracy to traffic and contraband cigarettes, and money laundering conspiracy. Not every defendant is charged with the same charge. Identification information for those charged, as well as information regarding individual charges, are in the press release which you should have a copy of.
Sixteen individuals have been arrested in North Carolina, most in and around the Charlotte area, and one individual has been arrested in Michigan. We anticipate an additional arrest today.
All arrest and searches were accomplished without incident. Operations Smokescreen, parts of which began three and a half years ago, is ongoing, and has been conducted jointly by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the diplomat security service, the FBI, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and IDR (ph) County sheriff's department.
ALLEN: And federal authorities say that their allegations do not allege that anyone involved in this is engaged in the acts of terrorism. No criminal terrorism charges at this time. They also told us that the investigation is ongoing. And we will keep you up to date on this as we get more information on it.
Now let's take it back "TALKBACK LIVE."
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