DEA’s ‘Operation Crystal Shield’ to focus on methamphetamine trafficking hubs
There has been a 578% increase in methamphetamine seizures in Florida from 2018 to 2019.
The overall prices of methamphetamine across Florida in 2017-2019 ranged from $5,900 to $20,000 per pound.
Additionally, Mexican DTOs have frequently sought to exploit new smuggling routes by flying the methamphetamine via private aircraft from Central America to the Bahamas and then into South Florida.
Traffickers and distributors also sell meth as counterfeit pills or frequently use it as an adulterant, known and unbeknownst to customers.
“The emerging trend of methamphetamine in pill form also targets prescription stimulant users and appeal to non-traditional drug users due to the length of the high and the cheap price of methamphetamine, many opioid addicts are reportedly transitioning to methamphetamine,” according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The DEA announced Friday that they will be directing enforcement resources to meth “transportation hubs,” which are areas where the drug is often trafficked in bulk and distributed across the country.
The new “Operation Crystal Shield” will continue to focus on drugs being smuggled across the border as well as ramp up enforcement to block further distribution into American neighborhoods.
A total of eight major hubs have been identified in Atlanta, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Phoenix and St. Louis. “Together, these DEA Field Divisions accounted for more than 75 percent of methamphetamine seized in the U.S. in 2019.”
The most recent reporting from Florida Medical Examiners indicates that during 2018, total occurrences of methamphetamine present at the time of death in Florida increased by 23% (198 more) and deaths caused by methamphetamine increased by 33% (155 more) when compared to 2017, the DEA states.
“The stark rise in methamphetamine distribution and use in Florida is putting its communities in grave danger by jeopardizing the welfare of everyone.” said Miami FD Special Agent in Charge Kevin W. Carter. “The Miami Field Division takes this initiative very seriously and remains strongly committed to working with our law enforcement partners, both nationally and internationally, to combat any such further increases and contamination of people’s health.”