News Release
March 8, 2006

Contact: DEA Public Affairs
(202) 307-7977

DEA Announces Kansas City Meth Takedown

(Kansas City, Kansas)- The Drug Enforcement Administration today announced 27 indictments related to methamphetamine trafficking as part of Operation Iceberg, a seven month DEA-led investigation that resulted in 23 arrests, and the dismantlement of four separate meth trafficking organizations. DEA's St. Louis-based Mobile Enforcement Team (MET) was deployed to assist the Kansas City Police Department in this case. Agents seized more than 3 kilograms of methamphetamine, 18 kilograms of marijuana, 2.5 kilograms of cocaine, 11 firearms, and more than $120,000 in cash.

"Methamphetamine continues to take its toll on this nation," said Donald Mendrala, assistant special agent in charge of DEA Kansas City. "Historically, meth was homemade, cheap and readily available but cooperative law enforcement efforts and legislation have greatly impacted the availability of domestically manufactured methamphetamine. In its place, foreign methamphetamine trafficking organizations are importing and distributing a more potent and cheaper form of the drug, bringing with it a level of violence and destruction not seen with the domestic form of methamphetamine. This was the focus of Operation Iceberg, a cooperative effort involving investigators and prosecutors from the state, local and federal level, that has shown what such efforts can produce. DEA is proud to have been a part of Operation Iceberg and of the cooperative law enforcement effort it represents."

Said United States Attorney Eric Melgren: "Crystal meth is one of the most dangerous drugs on the streets of Kansas City. Most of it is made in Mexico and shipped here for sale to local retailers who push it on the streets. Crystal meth turns its users into addicts and destroys their health. It inspires them to violence and paranoia. It locks them into a life of crime to support their habit. And it provides armed bands of career criminals with an illegal livelihood peddling poison on out streets. If these defendants are convicted, they face federal drug trafficking sentences of up to 10, 20, even 40 years in prison. Our goal here is to make use of federal resources and federal drug trafficking penalties to bring the hammer down on a growing source of crime and violence in Kansas City.”

The operation began in 2005 when the Kansas City Kansas Police Department asked the DEA for assistance after seeing violence rise as crystal meth became more common in the city. The DEA’s Mobile Enforcement Teams, including the one based in Kansas City, are designed to provide temporary assistance to local police departments by bringing extra resources to bear on drug trafficking hot-spots.

“The Kansas City, Kansas Police Department recognized that the sale and distribution of methamphetamine is a big problem nationwide,” said Chief Ron Miller. “In combating this problem, we develop strong working relationships with other local, state and federal agencies. We are proud of the success of Operation Iceberg as a good example of what this type of cooperation can yield and we look forward, with our law enforcement partners, to successful, future drug trafficking investigations.”

“Methamphetamine has a devastating effect not only on users of the drug but on the surrounding community as well,” said Jerome A. Gorman, Wyandotte County District Attorney. “Most often, methamphetamine trade brings with it violence, illegal guns, and increased property crimes. We are pleased to have worked with local, state, and federal law enforcement to help keep this drug off of our streets.”

Other agencies that assisted with arrests include the Kansas Department of Revenue, the Independence, Mo., Police Department, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement: the DEA Air Wing; the Kansas Highway Patrol, the Lenexa Police Department, the Overland Park Police Department and others.

As in any criminal case, a person is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. The charges filed merely contain allegations of criminal conduct.

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