DEA Announces Launch of Operation Crystal SDEA Announces Launch of Operation Crystal Shieldhield

(STL.News) – Attorney General William P. Barr and Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon announced on February 20, 2020, that the DEA will direct enforcement resources to methamphetamine “transportation hubs” — areas where methamphetamine is often trafficked in bulk and then distributed across the country. While continuing to focus on stopping drugs being smuggled across the border, DEA’s Operation Crystal Shield will ramp up enforcement to block their further distribution into America’s neighborhoods.

DEA has identified eight major methamphetamine transportation hubs where these efforts will be concentrated: Atlanta, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Phoenix, and St. Louis. Together, these DEA Field Divisions accounted for more than 75 percent of methamphetamine seized in the U.S. in 2019.

“While meth is not a new drug, it has seen a troubling resurgence over the past few years,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “Manufactured mostly in Mexican labs and smuggled into the United States across the southwest border, meth is a drug that is both cheap and potent, creating a deadly combination.  Just as the Trump Administration has acted swiftly to stem the tide of opioid fatalities, it will use every weapon in its arsenal – such as the DEA’s Operation Crystal Shield – to stop dangerous methamphetamine from reaching American neighborhoods and harming American families.”

“Illegal drugs are wreaking havoc on our communities.  Finding and prosecuting those who sell this poison is a priority of my office,” said David C. Joseph, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana.  “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners each day to disrupt drug trafficking networks, imprison their participants, and forfeit any proceeds to the United States. Make no mistake, crystal methamphetamine is a grave threat to the well-being of our citizens.”

Operation Crystal Shield builds on 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 FY 2017 to FY 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 rose nearly twenty percent.

“For decades, methamphetamine has been a leading cause of violence and addiction – a drug threat that has never gone away,” said Acting Administrator Dhillon.  “With a 22 percent increase in methamphetamine-related overdose deaths, now is the time to act, and DEA is leading the way with a surge of interdiction efforts and resources, targeting regional transportation hubs throughout the United States.  By reducing the supply of meth, we reduce the violence, addiction, and death it spreads.”

DEA New Orleans Field Division Special Agent in Charge Brad L. Byerley said, “Methamphetamine destroys lives and is one of the primary drivers of violence across the nation, including here in our four-state region.  Operation Crystal Shield will build on DEA’s ongoing efforts to hold meth dealers accountable.  We will continue to seize their profits, shut down their distribution networks, and put dealers where they belong – behind bars.  By continuing to target local distribution networks in this transportation hub, DEA and our federal, state and local law enforcement partners are working to reduce violent crime and improve the quality of life for the citizens in our area and beyond.”

The DEA New Orleans Field Division, which covers Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas, is seeing a significant increase in the amount of methamphetamine seized, up 58 percent in the last year.

Virtually all methamphetamine in the United States comes through major ports of entry along the Southwest Border and is transported by tractor trailers and personal vehicles along the nation’s highways to major transfer centers around the country.  It is often found in poly-drug loads, alongside cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl.

Attorney General William P. Barr and Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon announced on February 20, 2020, that the DEA will direct enforcement resources to methamphetamine “transportation hubs” — areas where methamphetamine is often trafficked in bulk and then distributed across the country.  While continuing to focus on stopping drugs being smuggled across the border, DEA’s Operation Crystal Shield will ramp up enforcement to block their further distribution into America’s neighborhoods.

DEA has identified eight major methamphetamine transportation hubs where these efforts will be concentrated: Atlanta, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Phoenix, and St. Louis.  Together, these DEA Field Divisions accounted for more than 75 percent of methamphetamine seized in the U.S. in 2019.

“While meth is not a new drug, it has seen a troubling resurgence over the past few years,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “Manufactured mostly in Mexican labs and smuggled into the United States across the southwest border, meth is a drug that is both cheap and potent, creating a deadly combination.  Just as the Trump Administration has acted swiftly to stem the tide of opioid fatalities, it will use every weapon in its arsenal – such as the DEA’s Operation Crystal Shield – to stop dangerous methamphetamine from reaching American neighborhoods and harming American families.”

“Illegal drugs are wreaking havoc on our communities.  Finding and prosecuting those who sell this poison is a priority of my office,” said David C. Joseph, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana.  “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners each day to disrupt drug trafficking networks, imprison their participants, and forfeit any proceeds to the United States. Make no mistake, crystal methamphetamine is a grave threat to the well-being of our citizens.”

Operation Crystal Shield builds on 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 FY 2017 to FY 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 rose nearly twenty percent.

“For decades, methamphetamine has been a leading cause of violence and addiction – a drug threat that has never gone away,” said Acting Administrator Dhillon.  “With a 22 percent increase in methamphetamine-related overdose deaths, now is the time to act, and DEA is leading the way with a surge of interdiction efforts and resources, targeting regional transportation hubs throughout the United States.  By reducing the supply of meth, we reduce the violence, addiction, and death it spreads.”

DEA New Orleans Field Division Special Agent in Charge Brad L. Byerley said, “Methamphetamine destroys lives and is one of the primary drivers of violence across the nation, including here in our four-state region.  Operation Crystal Shield will build on DEA’s ongoing efforts to hold meth dealers accountable.  We will continue to seize their profits, shut down their distribution networks, and put dealers where they belong – behind bars.  By continuing to target local distribution networks in this transportation hub, DEA and our federal, state and local law enforcement partners are working to reduce violent crime and improve the quality of life for the citizens in our area and beyond.”

The DEA New Orleans Field Division, which covers Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas, is seeing a significant increase in the amount of methamphetamine seized, up 58 percent in the last year.

Virtually all methamphetamine in the United States comes through major ports of entry along the Southwest Border and is transported by tractor trailers and personal vehicles along the nation’s highways to major transfer centers around the country.  It is often found in poly-drug loads, alongside cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl.

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