Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Administrator Timothy J. Shea announced the expansion of Operation Crystal Shield. This expansion includes the designation of two additional methamphetamine “transportation hubs” in 2021. Through this effort, DEA is attacking the entire supply chain, locating and seizing meth shipments before they are broken down and trafficked into our communities and neighborhoods. The Chicago Field Division and San Francisco Field Division have been added to this initiative, along with the nine DEA field divisions originally selected to participate. Additionally, operational resources have been increased by 50 percent to attack the meth threat and the violence that accompanies it.
“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.”
In February 2020, DEA launched Operation Crystal Shield, a major coordinated enforcement effort targeting methamphetamine transportation hubs throughout the United States to prevent these deadly narcotics from wracking public health and security across the nation. In total, Operation Crystal Shield generated more than 800 investigations resulting in over 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.
Since the inception of Operation Crystal Shield, DEA has identified changing trends in methamphetamine trafficking. The Chicago Field Division has been identified as a hub for Sinaloa and CNJG operations that transport methamphetamine to communities across Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana. The San Francisco Field Division has been identified as a hub for methamphetamine trafficked across northern California to Oregon and Nevada.
The initial nine DEA field divisions that participated in Operation Crystal Shield were selected because they had accounted for over 75 percent of the methamphetamine seized across the United States in 2019. Including the two new hubs of Chicago and San Francisco, the 11 divisions taking part in Operation Crystal Shield represent more than 90 percent of the 118,146 pounds of methamphetamine seized throughout the United States in 2020.
Virtually all methamphetamine in the United States is produced in Mexico in industrial-like labs, through major ports of entry along the Southwest Border, and transported in tractor trailers and personal vehicles along U.S. highways.