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Drug Enforcement Administration

San Diego

John W. Callery, Special Agent in Charge

September 10, 2020

Contact: Kameron Korte

Phone Number: (571) 324-6204

Attorney General William P. Barr Joins DEA Acting Administrator Timothy J. Shea to Announce Results of Operation Crystal Shield

4,462 pounds of methamphetamine seized by DEA before reaching San Diego and Imperial County streets

Meth, Fentanyl Pills and Shotgun Seized in San Diego Operation Crystal Shield Case
Meth, Fentanyl Pills and Shotgun Seized in San Diego Operation Crystal Shield Case
Meth, Fentanyl Pills and Shotgun Seized in San Diego Operation Crystal Shield Case

WASHINGTON – Today, Attorney General William P. Barr and Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Administrator Timothy J. Shea announced the results of Operation Crystal Shield, DEA’s six-month-long effort targeting the command and control elements of Mexican cartels that operate major methamphetamine “transportation hubs” in the United States.

At a press conference in Phoenix, Arizona, Attorney General Barr and Acting Administrator Shea announced that in just six months, Operation Crystal Shield generated a total of more than 750 investigations, resulting in nearly 1,840 arrests and the seizure of more than 28,560 pounds of methamphetamine, $43.3 million in drug proceeds, and 284 firearms.

In the DEA San Diego Field Division alone, which covers San Diego and Imperial Counties, DEA conducted 29 investigations, made 81 arrests, and seized 4,462 pounds of methamphetamine and $489,000 in drug proceeds since February.

“In the months leading up to the launch of Operation Crystal Shield, communities across the United States experienced a surge of methamphetamine,” said Acting Administrator Timothy J. Shea. “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.”

“Although San Diego and Imperial Counties have been locked down since March due to COVID, DEA has been working hard to stop ruthless cartels from bringing methamphetamine into our communities,” said Special Agent in Charge John W. Callery.  “In the past six months, the San Diego Field Division seized 4,462 pounds of methamphetamine, an increase from the same period in 2019.  We will continue to be relentless in our pursuit of criminals who continually attempt to poison our schools, communities and environment with methamphetamine and its residual carnage. Op Crystal Shield was implemented to accomplish that goal.  It’s not over and DEA will be ever vigilant on behalf of the citizens of San Diego and Imperial Counties.”

DEA launched Operation Crystal Shield on February 20, after identifying nine major methamphetamine trafficking hubs: Atlanta, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Phoenix, San Diego and St. Louis.  Together these nine cities accounted for more than 75 percent of methamphetamine seized by DEA in 2019.  Under this operation, DEA directed enforcement resources to these cities where methamphetamine is often trafficked in bulk and then distributed across the country.  

Operation Crystal Shield leveraged 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 timeframe, the number of DEA arrests related to methamphetamine increased by nearly 20 percent. 


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