NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A well-organized ring of marijuana traffickers, operating out of southern Dallas County, has fattened the bank accounts of local law enforcement agencies.

More than $1.7 million was seized from a ranch and safes across Dallas County in late 2010. The money has now been divided up and doled out to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Collin and Dallas Counties, and the City of Wylie.

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“It is a huge deal — $1.7 million is dramatic and we’re all Texans here so you’ll be very happy that over $1.1 million is going to the state of Texas for the operations of the Department of Public Safety,” Texas U.S. Attorney Malcolm Bales explained.

The busted marijuana smuggling operation ran between Dallas and Arizona, using horse trailers.

“Where you could take the air conditioning unit off the top of the thing, they had built in a false compartment to take advantage of the cavity and very quickly they could load the marijuana or the money, whatever the case may be, [and] reload the horses,” Bales said.

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As far as the bust being significant Bales said the drugs are just a fraction of what is out there. “We’re putting more people in prison than ever before. These types of seizures are happening not routinely, but regularly. We’re really hitting them where they really live. And yet there is so much more to do because the appetite for the drugs seems insatiable.”

In all, 17 people were convicted in the North Texas drug smuggling operation.

A tip given to authorities brought down the whole ring.  And though law enforcement made off with big bucks, the tipster got a thank you and no cash.

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