DEA targets nation’s meth ‘transportation hubs’

The U.S. Justice Department announced that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will dedicate resources to target “transportation hubs” throughout the country which are known hotspots for trafficking in methamphetamine.

DEA named eight meth transportation hubs, which its officers will be targeting, including Atlanta, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Phoenix and St. Louis. According to the agency, these areas accounted for more than 75% of the meth seized by its officers in 2019.

DEA dubbed the enforcement action “Operation Crystal Shield.”

The agency said seizures of the narcotic between fiscal years 2017 and 2019 increased 127% from 49,507 pounds to 112,146 pounds, while the number of DEA arrests for meth-related crimes rose 20% over the same three-year period.

“DEA is leading the way with a surge of interdiction efforts and resources, targeting regional transportation hubs throughout the United States,” said DEA Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon in a statement on Thursday, Feb. 20. “By reducing the supply of meth, we reduce the violence, addiction and death it spreads.”

The agency did not reveal how long Operation Crystal Shield would last.

The eight U.S. cities that will be part of DEA’s Operation Crystal Shield. [Source: U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration]

DEA said most of the meth distributed and sold in the U.S. originates from Mexico, entering through land-border ports along the U.S.-Mexico border, and is “transported by tractor trailers and personal vehicles along the nation’s highways to major transfer centers around the country.”