News Release
August 17, 2007

Operation “Crystal Blue Persuasion”

AUG 17 -- In Late 2003, in response to the steady rises in the Auto Theft rate in the Seattle area the Seattle Police Department (SPD) created the Major Crimes Task Force (MCTF). The MCTF was charged with developing creative and innovative ways to combat Auto Theft in an effort to lower the crime rate in the City of Seattle and the surrounding areas.

The MCTF developed a system to proactively combat Auto Theft by targeting the most prolific Auto Theft suspects filing multiple felony cases on the individuals for any crime they committed. In doing so the goal was to give the citizens of Seattle a break from the most prolific auto thieves for the longest time possible. One component of the MCTF “system” was the creation of the “Top Ten List”.

The year prior to the formation of the Major Crimes Task Force the auto theft rate rose 9 % and was up over 9,000 auto thefts in a single year. Over the next three years the Major Crimes Task Force focused on the “Top Ten” Auto Theft suspect list removing suspects as they were arrested and adding new names to the ever-changing list. Over the last 2½ years the rate of reported Auto Thefts has shown a steady double-digit decrease. (2006 was down 15% & the first half of 2007 is down 20% from 2006)

During this period MCTF detectives discovered that most of the prolific auto theft suspects were also responsible for a great deal of the residential and commercial burglaries, car prowls, identity thefts and many other property crimes in the Seattle area. Additionally, detectives determined that there was a common thread among the suspects involved in these crimes. Nearly every “Top Ten” suspect was a user and distributor of the illegal drug “crystal methamphetamine”. Several of these individuals were involved with sophisticated organizations responsible for the distribution and sales of crystal methamphetamine and other drugs in the greater Seattle area.

MCTF detectives gathered intelligence and developed a list of potential targets and organizations as well as informants who could penetrate these groups. A proposal was made and accepted to have the SPD Narcotics Section along with the Seattle DEA’s Mobile Enforcement Team (MET) join forces with the MCTF to attack the methamphetamine trade in Seattle and to therefore have a simultaneous impact on crimes fueled by methamphetamine users such as Auto Theft, Identity Theft, and Burglary.

On January 10th 2007 the MCTF joined with the DEA MET and SPD Narcotics to form a joint task force under the operational code name “Crystal Blue Persuasion”.

Over the last 7 months this new task force has been responsible for:

  • Over 131 drug and weapon purchases,
  • Investigating criminal felony delivery of methamphetamine cases on 96 suspects.
  • 54 additional cases resulting in 66 arrests involving over 100 stolen vehicles (these cases include charges of Auto Theft, Robbery, Residential and Commercial Burglary, Firearms Violations, Assault with a Firearm, Warrant Arrests, Fraud & ID Theft, as well as Drug Charges),
  • Over 44 search warrants have been served,
  • Illegal drugs worth an estimated street value of $943,709 have been seized (these drugs include crystal methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, heroin, oxycontin, ecstasy and prescription drugs),
  • Over $467,870 in cash was seized,
  • 18 vehicles worth an estimated $394,270 have been seized,
  • 26 weapons have been recovered (Ranging from handguns to rifles, soft air pistols to a Taser and a pipe bomb),
  • Numerous items of property including Thermal Imaging units, Plasma TV’s, Security Systems have been seized.
  • To date 13 individuals have been indicted on federal charges and 123 indicted on state charges.

Although the majority of the cases were investigated in the City of Seattle the team made drug and gun purchases from Everett, to Tacoma and as far away as Yakima. All of the investigations had a connection to Seattle and the Puget Sound area.

Yesterday, August 16, 2007, felony arrest warrants were issued for each outstanding suspect as a result of Operation “ Crystal Blue Persuasion”.

Starting last night members of Seattle Police Department, Drug Enforcement Administration and other local law enforcement agencies began locating, arresting, interviewing and booking the suspects involved in Operation “ Crystal Blue Persuasion”.

Our goal to attack prolific property crime suspects from a drug trafficking angle has been a great success. It is expected that the results of this operation will extend well into the remainder of 2007, which is at this time already showing a dramatic drop in auto theft and other property crimes, and continue to carry into 2008, as these criminals should be behind bars for some time.