The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration announced this week the conclusion of an ongoing operation, “Operation Crystal Mountain” which has targeted methamphetamine trafficking in Kentucky, West Virginia and Tennessee.
The operation, according to a statement from the DEA, resulted in a total of 60 arrests in Kentucky, as well as the seizure or interdiction of approximately 360 pounds of methamphetamine; a total of 20 arrests and the seizure of 132 pounds of the drug in West Virginia; and 155 arrests and the seizure or interdiction of 317 pounds of the drug in Tennessee.
In total, the statement said, more than 800 pounds of methamphetamine were seized or taken off the market during the operation, which the statement said involved DEA special agents working with state and local law enforcement to target Mexican drug cartels, drug trafficking organizations and other individuals involved in the manufacturing and distribution of meth.
The operation, the statement said, began in January.
“Everyone has a right to live in safety. The amount of drugs and weapons we’ve taken off the street with this operation, along with the number of drug dealers that we’ve locked up, represents a small victory in our on-going fight for safer communities for us all,” said Special Agent in Charge of DEA’s Louisville Division Office D. Christopher Evans. “While America’s opioid crisis may dominate headlines, Operation Crystal Mountain should serve as a reminder that methamphetamine is a problem that has never gone away. The dedicated men and women of DEA, working closely with state and local law enforcement, are relentless in their efforts to rid our neighborhoods of dangerous drugs and bring to justice those who distribute them, wherever they may be.”
During the same timeframe, the statement said, DEA assisted state and local law enforcement in the arrest of 140 individuals on state-level drug charges.
“While the opioid epidemic has ravaged the nation, several large swaths of the U.S. see meth as their primary drug threat,” the DEA statement said. “The majority of the methamphetamine in the U.S. is produced in Mexico and trafficked by Mexican (drug trafficking organizations). However, DEA continues to work to disrupt and dismantle all components of both foreign and domestic organizations which produce and traffic methamphetamine.”
The operation drew praise from U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky Robert Duncan.
“Methamphetamine is a dangerous drug and this enforcement operation demonstrates the hard work of our law enforcement partners, in their efforts to diminish its impact in Southeastern Kentucky and throughout the region,” Duncan said in a statement. “Our office remains committed to using all available resources to combat methamphetamine trafficking. Working with the DEA and our state and local law enforcement partners, we will continue to prioritize the prosecution of these important cases and work to make our communities safer.”