News Release [printer friendly page]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 16, 2006
Contact: DOJ Public Affairs
The Department of Justice's Efforts to Combat Methamphetamine
16--President George W. Bush has directed his Administration
to take aggressive and collaborative action in addressing the dangerous
proliferation of methamphetamine. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales
has directed the Department of Justice to make this effort a top priority.
The Department’s goals in this endeavor are to communicate, cooperate
and coordinate with our international, state and local law enforcement
partners to tackle every aspect of this deadly threat to our nation.
Since taking office, the Attorney General has focused on combating methamphetamine
through six methods:
1) Increasing DEA Operations and Arrests
The Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration have been
fighting methamphetamine for over 20 years. The Department has engaged
in sustained efforts to target an unprecedented rise in the use, trafficking
and manufacture of methamphetamine nationwide and to make advances
on the national and international front to combat this unique drug.
In the 2005
fiscal year, DEA made 5,870 methamphetamine arrests and seized
2,491 kilograms of the drug.
In August 2005,
DEA also concluded Operation Three Hour Tour that targeted high-level
Colombian and Mexican drug traffickers in the U.S.
The Operation dismantled three major transportation cells and 27
distribution groups and seized 155 pounds of methamphetamine.
2) Making Meth Prosecutions a Priority for U.S. Attorneys
The Attorney General has directed the United States Attorney’s
Offices to make the prosecution of meth cooks and distributors, especially
those who are repeat offenders, a high priority. This means U.S. Attorneys
are now going into federal court and seeking stiff sentences for major
players in the meth trade.
- During the past
10 years, our U.S. Attorneys have more than quadrupled the number
of meth cases filed and defendants charged.
3) Working with State and Local Law Enforcement
The scourge of methamphetamine demands strong partnerships and innovative
solutions to fight the devastation it leaves behind. The Department
is committed to working with our state and local law enforcement partners
to ensure that our streets and neighborhoods are safe and that the
methamphetamine problem is brought to an end.
more than $145 million per year to combating meth, through operations,
meth lab dismantling and removal and regulatory control of
has provided additional specialized training to police officers
deputies on how to best respond to meth related situations.
has expanded the Clandestine Lab Container Program so that it is
from meth labs is transported by trained law enforcement personnel
approved containers and is then picked up and
removed by DEA contractors.
program has significantly reduced burdensome costs for state and local
enforcement budgets, specifically the cost of
lab cleanup, law enforcement overtime and hazardous-material removal.
4) Providing Information and Awareness
Community involvement among neighbors, parents, community leaders, schools
and businesses is also an essential component in the fight against
methamphetamine. It is extremely important to educate young people
about the irreversible harm to the body and damage to the quality of
life this drug leaves in its wake.
supports the National Drug Endangered Children Program, which assists
states and communities by expanding the effectiveness of
outreach efforts to protect children orphaned by the arrest and incarceration
of parents involved in meth.
DEA has launched
http://www.justthinktwice.com - a cutting-edge Web site devoted to
and designed by teenagers that includes the hard facts
about methamphetamine with graphic photos and personal stories.
5) Strengthing International Partnerships to Combat Methamphetamine
Joined by Mexican Attorney General Daniel Cabeza De Vaca, Office of National
Drug Control Policy Director John Walters and DEA Administrator Karen
Tandy, last month the Attorney General unveiled Department of Justice-led
initiatives aimed at addressing improved enforcement, increased law
enforcement training, improved information-sharing, and increased public
awareness both domestically and with joint U.S./Mexico anti-trafficking
The DEA and the
Government of Mexico will establish specialized methamphetamine enforcement
teams on the respective sides of the border. In Mexico,
these teams will focus on investigating and targeting the most wanted
Mexican methamphetamine drug trafficking organizations, while DEA-led
efforts on the U.S. side will focus on the methamphetamine traffickers
and organizations transporting and distributing methamphetamine.
Other initiatives that are part of the U.S./Mexico partnership include:
A new DEA
and Customs and Border Protection Service focus on ports of interest
United States targeting suspicious cargo
that is likely to be related to methamphetamine trafficking organizations;
Law Enforcement Working Group that will focus on methamphetamine production
from both an enforcement and
and the Mexican counterparts will further share intelligence information
to develop stronger working relationships. Such
collaborative efforts will focus on investigating large-scale meth trafficking
organizations that are operating in Mexico and the United States;
between the DEA Office of Diversion Control and Mexico’s chemical regulatory agency, COFEPRIS, to a personnel exchange
in which chemical regulatory experts from within each agency will be
embedded within the other’s agency for a specific period
to observe, learn best practices, and then implement joint strategies
to both regulatory agencies;
leadership planning conference this summer in Mexico aimed at reducing
production and demand, and improving
trucks used in clandestine lab enforcement operations that have been
and donated to Mexico to be used by the above
referenced specialized Mexican enforcement teams; and
State Department and other government agency-led training for nearly
1000 Mexican police
officials in a variety of locations throughout
the U.S., Mexico, and Central America on a variety of investigative,
enforcement and regulatory methods related to methamphetamine trafficking.
Domestic efforts will focus on a redirection of DEA Clan Lab
enforcement teams. The significant reduction in domestic
small toxic labs will
allow these teams to refocus their efforts at targeting Mexican methamphetamine
trafficking organizations by tracing chemicals, finished methamphetamine
and proceeds to organizational leaders in the U.S. and Mexico rather
than merely locating and cleaning up labs. An additional focus of
these teams will be to identify and dismantle U.S.-based
Other domestic initiatives announced include:
national listing on the DEA Web site of the addresses of
properties in which
labs or chemical dumpsites have been found.
The registry will provide owners or renters with notice that a
property may once have been used to produce methamphetamine
and that there may
be potential toxic hazards within the property.
groundbreaking for a new clandestine lab training facility
at the DEA Academy in Quantico,
Va. will be in the fall of 2006. At this
facility, DEA will train US and foreign law enforcement officials
on the latest techniques in clandestine lab detection, enforcement,
safety in a state-of-the-art facility.
6) Using Additional Tools to Targeting Meth Traffickers
The “Combat Methamphetamine Act” contained in the USA PATRIOT
Act reauthorization legislation makes certain drugs used in manufacturing
methamphetamines “scheduled listed chemical products” harder
to obtain in unlimited quantities and easier for law enforcement to track.
It provides a national standard for the regulation of meth precursors
and makes other important contributions to the war against drugs. As
part of a more comprehensive approach toward controlling this growing
problem, the legislation:
limits on daily retail and monthly mail order/Internet sales,
placement or display and storage in
that regulated sellers such as retail distributors and pharmacies
maintain a written
logbook of purchases and that buyers
present photo ID and sign the log;
each regulated seller to submit a certification to the DEA;
increased penalties for smuggling and selling meth;
that kingpins of “Continuing Criminal Enterprises” will
be subject to life imprisonment for a reduced threshold amount
of meth and profits from meth; and
that offenders who manufacture meth at a location where a child
resides or is present
could be eligible for a consecutive sentence
of up to 20 additional years of imprisonment.
# # #