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Need to know more about drugs?  www.justthinktwice.com

GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release [printer friendly page]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 16, 2006
Contact: DOJ Public Affairs
(202) 514-2007

FACT SHEET:
The Department of Justice's Efforts to Combat Methamphetamine

JUN 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.

  • DEA commits more than $145 million per year to combating meth, through operations, meth lab dismantling and removal and regulatory control of precursor chemicals.

    • The DEA has refocused its Mobile Enforcement Teams to assist state and local authorities in investigating organizations that are manufacturing meth in areas where law enforcement has requested their assistance.

  • The Department has provided additional specialized training to police officers and sheriff’s deputies on how to best respond to meth related situations.

    • In the 2004 and 2005 fiscal years, the Department more than tripled the number of meth-training courses offered nationwide.

  • The Department has expanded the Clandestine Lab Container Program so that it is available nationwide.

    • Toxic waste from meth labs is transported by trained law enforcement personnel to centralized approved containers and is then picked up and removed by DEA contractors.

    • The container program has significantly reduced burdensome costs for state and local law 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.

  • The Department 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 efforts.

  • U.S./Mexico Partnership

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 within the United States targeting suspicious cargo that is likely to be related to methamphetamine trafficking organizations;

  • A Binational Law Enforcement Working Group that will focus on methamphetamine production and trafficking from both an enforcement and intelligence perspective;

  • The DEA and the Mexican counterparts will further share intelligence information and continue 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;

  • An agreement 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 complimentary to both regulatory agencies;

  • A bilateral leadership planning conference this summer in Mexico aimed at reducing methamphetamine production and demand, and improving targeting efforts;

  • Six DEA trucks used in clandestine lab enforcement operations that have been refurbished and donated to Mexico to be used by the above referenced specialized Mexican enforcement teams; and

  • New DEA, 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.

  • U.S. Efforts

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 transportation and distribution cells.

Other domestic initiatives announced include:

  • A national listing on the DEA Web site of the addresses of properties in which methamphetamine 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.

  • The 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, and 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:

  • Imposes limits on daily retail and monthly mail order/Internet sales, requires behind-the-counter placement or display and storage in locked cabinets;

  • Requires 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;

  • Requires each regulated seller to submit a certification to the DEA;

  • Provides increased penalties for smuggling and selling meth;

  • Provides that kingpins of “Continuing Criminal Enterprises” will be subject to life imprisonment for a reduced threshold amount of meth and profits from meth; and

  • Provides 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.

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