OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Today, Drug Enforcement Administration officials announced the results of Operation Crystal Shield, DEA’s six-month-long effort targeting the command and control elements of Mexican cartels that operate major methamphetamine “transportation hubs” in the United States.
At a press conference in Phoenix, Arizona, Attorney General William P. Barr and Acting Administrator Timothy J. Shea announced that in just six months, Operation Crystal Shield generated a total of more than 750 investigations, resulting in nearly 1,840 arrests and the seizure of more than 28,560 pounds of methamphetamine, $43.3 million in drug proceeds, and 284 firearms.
In the DEA Dallas Field Division alone, which covers North Texas and Oklahoma, DEA conducted 40 investigations, made 358 arrests, and seized 9,645 pounds of methamphetamine, $8.241 million in drug proceeds, and 144 firearms.
“In the months leading up to the launch of Operation Crystal Shield, communities across the United States experienced a surge of methamphetamine,” said Acting Administrator Timothy J. Shea. “The COVID pandemic locked down many communities and impacted legitimate businesses, but the drug trade continued. Under difficult conditions, DEA – along with our federal, state, and local partners – never stopped working as we helped stem the flow of methamphetamine onto our streets, even as violent drug traffickers sought new ways to smuggle it into the United States. The success of Operation Crystal Shield reflects the devotion of DEA and our partners to protect our communities from the scourge of drug trafficking and violent crime under any circumstances.”
DEA launched Operation Crystal Shield on February 20, after identifying nine major methamphetamine trafficking hubs: Atlanta, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Phoenix, San Diego and St. Louis. Together these nine cities accounted for more than 75 percent of methamphetamine seized by DEA in 2019. Under this operation, DEA directed enforcement resources to these cities where methamphetamine is often trafficked in bulk and then distributed across the country.
“As we have altered much of our daily activities due to the pandemic, one thing has remained the same: methamphetamine traffickers are still greedy and will stop at nothing to get their poison into the hands of those who struggle with addiction,” said Eduardo A. Chavez, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Dallas Field Division “Despite our overwhelming success over these past few months, the DEA and all of our law-enforcement partners will continue to make deliberate efforts to dismantle these criminal networks, seize their assets, and seek the stiffest penalties under the law.”
Operation Crystal Shield leveraged existing DEA initiatives that target major drug trafficking networks, including the Mexican cartels that are responsible for the overwhelming majority of methamphetamine trafficked into and within the United States. From 2017 to 2019, DEA domestic seizures of methamphetamine increased 127 percent from 49,507 pounds to 112,146 pounds. During the same time frame, the number of DEA arrests related to methamphetamine increased by nearly 20 percent.
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