DEA announces launch of Operation Crystal Shield
NEWARK, N.J. – Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon today announced 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.
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.”
“The DEA New Jersey Division has seized 434 kilograms of methamphetamine since 2017, and New Jersey law enforcement has seen a 512% increase in methamphetamine cases between 2015 and 2019 with the total number of lab submissions increasing 395%,” said Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s New Jersey Division, Susan A. Gibson. “This is significant considering the northeast is not a traditional methamphetamine market. The methamphetamine being produced by the Mexican drug trafficking organizations is being manufactured in large quantities and the drug can be as high as 95-100% pure. As a result, the men and women of DEA’s New Jersey Division work tirelessly to pursue those responsible for bringing this poison into our communities.”
Communities across the country have been impacted by the dramatic increases in meth production, seizures and overdose deaths. In our area, the DEA New Jersey Division is dedicating manpower and resources to combat this issue.
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.