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DEA Announces Two Historic Drug Busts in Southern California

October 16, 2020

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency on Thursday announced that it has seized 893 pounds of cocaine, 13 pounds of heroin and 2,224 pounds of crystal meth—the largest domestic seizure of crystal meth in U.S. history.

In a news release announcing the seizure, DEA said:

  • In June, a Los Angeles Field Division Southwest Border Group began investigating a suspected drug trafficking organization with ties to the Sinaloa Cartel. The organization was suspected of transporting and delivering cocaine and crystal meth.
  • Earlier this month, police in Fontana, California, observed a suspected narcotics courier/stash house manager and an associate load two duffel bags into a vehicle. The two individuals then met with a third in Moreno Valley, where the bags were handed off. The individuals were detained and questioned by authorities before being released.
  • Armed with warrants, DEA agents then searched the courier’s house and a separate stash house in Perris, California. Agents found 25 duffel bags containing 406 kilograms of cocaine, six kilograms of heroin and 650 pounds of crystal meth at the courier’s residence, and 1,600 pounds of crystal meth at the property in Perris.

DEA Acting Administrator Timothy J. Shea called the seizure “a significant blow to the cartels.” The investigation remains ongoing.

“Los Angeles is the major transshipment hub for Mexican cartels trafficking illicit drugs across our southwest border,” L.A. Field Division Special Agent in Charge Bodner said in a statement. “Successful seizures like these save lives and reduce the exploitation and victimization of our local communities.”

In San Diego, meanwhile, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers last week seized more than 3,100 pounds of methamphetamine, fentanyl powder, fentanyl pills and heroin. The bust, conducted based on information provided by DEA and Homeland Security Investigations, was the second-largest seizure in CBP history.

On Oct. 9, a tractor trailer carrying medical supplies was stopped for inspection at a cargo border crossing. CBP officers, with the assistance of a canine, discovered more than 1,800 packages containing illicit substances mixed among the medical supplies. In all, officers discovered 3,014 pounds of methamphetamine, 64 pounds of heroin, 29 pounds of fentanyl powder and nearly 37 pounds of fentanyl powder.

The driver of the vehicle, a 47-year-old citizen of Mexico, was arrested and turned over to investigators from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, HSI and DEA.

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