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Drug Enforcement Administration

Los Angeles

William Bodner, Special Agent in Charge

September 10, 2020

Contact: Nicole Nishida

Phone Number: (571) 387-3136

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

Nearly 6,000 pounds of methamphetamine seized by DEA LA Field Division before reaching the streets of Southern California, Nevada and Hawaii

Major Methamphetamine Transportation Hubs
Major Methamphetamine Transportation Hubs

Los Angeles - 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.

Los Angeles Field Division is responsible for the seven largest counties in Southern California—Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara. In addition it also includes Nevada (Las Vegas/Reno), Hawaii (Oahu/Maui), Guam and Saipan. DEA LA Field Division conducted 16 investigations, made 34 arrests, and seized 5,752 pounds of methamphetamine, $15,968,411 in drug proceeds, and three firearms.

Acting Administrator Shea Quote: “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.”

This targeted operation, even amid the pandemic, allowed us to rid the community of a dangerous and highly addictive drug that is plaguing our streets in Los Angeles and elsewhere,” said Los Angeles Field Division Special Agent in Charge Bill Bodner. “Los Angeles is a major transshipment hub for drug traffickers and virtually all methamphetamine in the U.S. comes through major ports of entry along the Southwest Border which in turn has a deadly impact here in our communities because of our close proximity to the border.”

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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