U.S. Attorney William Barr and Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Administrator Timothy Shea announced Thursday, at a press conference in Phoenix, a large meth bust across the U.S., seizing thousands of pounds of methamphetamine, tens of millions of dollars, and hundreds of firearms.
The operation was a six-month-long effort to bring down a 'meth superhighway' that was controlled by Mexican cartels and stretched across the U.S.
Happening now! AG Barr and DEA Administrator Tim Shea announcing results of Operation Crystal Shield, a DEA-led initiative to intercept meth before it hits the street. pic.twitter.com/ZIFAbBFeiv— Kerri Kupec DOJ (@KerriKupecDOJ) September 10, 2020
The operation included 750 investigations across 'meth hubs' in Atlanta, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Phoenix, San Diego, and St. Louis, resulting in 1,840 arrests, the seizure of 28,560 pounds of methamphetamine, 284 firearms and $43.3 million in drug profits.
DEA showcased the dugs and weapons seized in the busts.
Barr is holding a weapon seized from one of the busts.
Here are more drugs and weapons.
"In the months leading up to the launch of Operation Crystal Shield, communities across the United States experienced a surge of methamphetamine," Shea said.
"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," he said.
Special Agent in Charge William J. Callahan, head of the St. Louis Division, said:
"Our efforts in this operation focused on the transshipment of methamphetamine through the highways that cross through the Midwest," Callahan said.
Adding that, "being in the heart of the country means that drug traffickers are using the highway system to move their drugs from the Southwest border, not only to the cities located in our region but also to those on the East Coast. Drug traffickers transport their illegally-gained cash back to Mexico, and the seizure of those funds severely impacts the command and control of the drug organization."
Callahan said meth trafficking was also conducted through "the U.S. Postal Service and other commercial parcel shipping businesses."
"Our investigators partnered with federal, state, and local law enforcement throughout the region to discover traffickers who utilized this method, and disrupt the methamphetamine supply," he said.
The DEA has reported domestic seizures (see: here) of meth increased 127% between 2017-19, from 49,507 pounds to 112,146 pounds.
The Trump administration has made a concerted effort among federal, state, and local leaders to combat drug traffickers and criminal cartels for violating U.S. sovereignty via breaching the southern border.