A recently dismantled large-scale drug operation was carried out in small residential neighborhoods across Indianapolis and Greenwood.pike_plaza_drug_bust_1427508560258_15705821_ver1_0_640_480

The drug ring stretched from Arizona to Indiana and the cartel shipped heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine from homes and businesses across the city.

The operation came to an end Tuesday, authorities announced Thursday. During the 15-month investigation, authorities arrested 65 people and seized large quantities of narcotics, illegal guns and $4.5 million in cash.

Many residents were shocked to learn the drug houses existed in their neighborhoods.drug_bust_house_1427507802613_15705816_ver1_0_640_480

“It’s scary because I work with people with special needs. And we’re not here all the time. When we’re not here to protect them, we’re not sure what’s going on. So, it’s scary,” one resident said Friday.

Police say the ring operated out of a Pike Plaza shopping mall — a furniture store that served as both a warehouse and a distribution center for illegal narcotics. It brought the drug trade into direct contact with thousands of unwitting citizens daily.

The cartel’s ringleader was arrested in a home in the 3500 block of Moller Road and police recovered drugs and cash from a home on West 38th Street.

“There are points that strike in a neighborhood, small investigations, that are helping to eliminate some of the violence in some of these areas,” Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Rick Hite said.

Local and federal investigators said the dismantling of the cartel will have some long-term implications for the city’s drug trade.

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