DEA announced expansion of Operation Crystal Shield

Timothy Shea, acting administrator for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, announced Friday that the agency would be expanding Operation Crystal Shield.

The expansion identifies two additional methamphetamine “transportation hubs” in 2021. It would work to attack the entire supply chain for the illegal drug by locating and seizing methamphetamine shipments before distributing across the United States.

DEA field offices in Chicago and San Francisco were recently added to the initiative, officials said, and operational resources have increased by 50 percent to attack the threat the drug and the violence that accompanies it present to communities.

“When DEA announced Operation Crystal Shield last February, we pledged to adjust, adapt, and expand our efforts based on the actions of the dangerous drug trafficking cartels, and today we are fulfilling that pledge,” said Acting Administrator Shea. “This is an ever-evolving initiative to protect the American people from the dangers of methamphetamine. It is imperative we continue to keep up the intensity and reverse the trend of increased meth on our streets and deaths from meth use and overdose. This action is an important step to stymie this dangerous drug from flooding our neighborhoods and communities.”

The DEA launched Operation Crystal Shield in February 2020 as a major coordinated enforcement effort targeting methamphetamine transportation hubs across the country. So far, the effort has generated more than 800 investigations and resulted in more than 2,100 arrests, the seizure of nearly $54.5 million in drug proceeds, more than 300 firearms, and more than 60,000 pounds of methamphetamine.

The addition of the Chicago and San Francisco offices to the effort will help cover the drug flow to Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, northern California, Oregon, and Nevada. The 11 offices now participating in Operation Crystal Shield represent more than 90 percent of the 118,146 pounds of methamphetamine seized in the United States in 2020.

Officials said that almost all of the methamphetamine in the United States is produced in Mexico and smuggled into the country through major ports of entry along the Southwest Border before being transported in tractor-trailers and personal vehicles along American highways.

Liz Carey

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