DEA Rocky Mountain Division Man Fire Line
(Denver, CO) August 30, 2005- United States Attorney Bill Leone and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Rocky Mountain Field Division Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey D. Sweetin announced today the Denver, Colorado, Grand Junction Colorado, Salt Lake City, Utah, Cheyenne, Wyoming and Billings, Montana DEA offices participated in Operation Wildfire. The concentrated effort led by DEA coupled with Rocky Mountain Division law enforcement partners, to maintain and reinforce the fire line against methamphetamine, resulted in 60 arrests, 23 meth lab seizures, and 63 pounds of meth confiscated.
“The DEA Rocky Mountain Division has redoubled its efforts to stem the spread of the poison know as methamphetamine, stated Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey D. Sweetin, in concert with DEA offices and law enforcement agencies across the U.S. Meth is not a new problem for this region and we continue to fight the meth battle on two fronts: Meth supplied by foreign drug trafficking organizations and home grown meth manufactures. We will continue to stand on the fire line and beat back the scourge of meth in our hometowns and nation.”
"When Attorney General Alberto Gonzales visited the United States Attorney's Office in Colorado on July 6, 2005, he told the office that addressing the methamphetamine problem in Colorado is an important priority," said United States Attorney Bill Leone. "The U.S. Attorney's Office, DEA, and federal, state and local task forces have responded. Through our cooperative efforts large quantities of meth have been removed from our streets, and meth traffickers have been put in prison."
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and DEA Administrator Karen P. Tandy announced today the results of the DEA-led “Operation Wildfire,” the first-ever nationally coordinated law enforcement operation designed to fight against the spread of methamphetamine use and abuse in the United States. Over 200 U.S. cities participated in Operation Wildfire, resulting in the arrest of 427 individuals. The DEA and their law enforcement partners found 30 children present in meth labs raided during Operation Wildfire.
“There is no drug that has more consequences than meth – for the abuser, for the trafficker, for the environment, for communities, and for the innocent children who live in filth and neglect,” said DEA Administrator Karen P. Tandy. “The meth crisis has ruined families, destroyed neighborhoods and put a tremendous strain on all levels of law enforcement and social services. This historic enforcement effort illustrates our commitment to extinguishing this plague and protecting innocent Americans from the harmful ripple effects meth leaves behind.”
Operation Wildfire follows the President’s national strategy to battle the meth drug plague as announced last week by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in Nashville, Tennessee.
“The scourge of methamphetamine demands strong partnerships and innovative solutions to fight the devastation it leaves behind,” said Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales. “Through Operation Wildfire, we have joined with state and local law enforcement to successfully pursue meth peddlers and producers in over 150 cities. The Department of Justice is committed to using every available resource to ensure that our streets and neighborhoods are safe and that the methamphetamine problem is brought to an end.”
Operation Wildfire was successful, due in part, to the varied law enforcement and drug diversion tactics practiced by the DEA and their law enforcement partners including; undercover meth purchases; meth laboratory identification and seizures; execution of search and arrest warrants; identification and dismantlement of large-scale meth trafficking organizations; deployment of DEA Mobile Enforcement Teams to assist state and local authorities in their meth investigations; and the investigations of pseudoephedrine importers, grey-market wholesalers, and retailers.
While the past week represents the largest single enforcement effort against meth, it is far from DEA’s first. For instance, last week the DEA announced the dismantling of three major drug transportation organizations that each month brought in enough meth for more than 22,000 users residing in the U.S.
Administrator Tandy stated, “DEA is fighting meth like never before. Side by side with courageous state and local officers, we’re closing down small toxic labs, shutting off illegal sources of bulk pseudoephedrine, arresting repeat offenders and neighborhood meth gangs, and targeting international meth cartels—their money, their chemicals, and their trafficking routes. We’ve made progress, but we still have a way to go. This tremendous operation puts us one step closer to our goal of snuffing out the meth wildfire that has swept across this country.”
The widespread availability of meth has made it accessible and appealing to U.S. teenagers. In conjunction with this enforcement effort, DEA launched a new website today as part of its efforts to raise public awareness about the dangers of the drug. The anti-drug website, www.justthinktwice.com, gives teens and their parents, the straight facts about methamphetamine and it’s not a pretty picture. The realities of meth’s physical and emotional tolls are plainly described and accompanied by before and after photos of meth users, which graphically depict the ravages of meth on the user and make a strong statement about its consequences.
Operation Wildfire resulted in the seizure of 209.48 pounds of methamphetamine, 188 pounds of precursor chemicals used to make the deadly drug and $255,570 in cash. In addition, 56 clandestine laboratories were seized in the nationwide sweep, 28 vehicles were seized, 123 weapons were found and 30 endangered children were removed from their meth environments.
For more information, please contact U.S. Attorney Public Affairs Jeff Dorschner at (303) 454-0243 or Special Agent Karen Flowers, Public Information Officer for the Rocky Mountain Field Division at (303) 705-7351.
Fact Sheets included separately that includes specific cities involved, meth in general, meth and the environment and meth and drug endangered children.
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