Inside the Cargo Containers: Loads of Contraband from Asian Smuggling Operation

WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal authorities have arrested around 100 Asian nationals on charges of smuggling counterfeit money, drugs and cigarettes into the United States, law enforcement officials said Monday.

The arrests came as part of an undercover investigation that led to the discovery of cargo containers filled with contraband in ports in Los Angeles and Newark, N.J., the officials said.

The arrests were made in Chicago, Los Angeles and Atlantic City, N.J., where some of those charged were lured by FBI agents, the officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk publicly about the matter. Senior officials were planning to announce the arrests later Monday at the Justice Department.

The investigation began in the FBI's Atlantic City office. Fifty-seven arrests were made there, one official said.

Other agencies involved in the investigation are the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Secret Service and New Jersey state police.

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Associated Press writer Jeff Gold in Newark, N.J., contributed to this report.

(c) 2005

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