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Tag: methamphetamine

DEA Makes Largest Meth Bust in Its History – 2,224 Pounds

The DEA’s biggest methamphetamine seizure. Photo via DEA.

By Steve Neavling

The DEA on Wednesday announced the biggest methamphetamine seizure in American history: 2,224 pounds of the drug recovered in California.  

The Oct. 2 bust took place at stash houses in Riverside County that were connected with the Sinaloa cartel, The Los Angeles Times reports. The DEA also seized 13 pounds of heroin and 893 pounds of cocaine.

The announcement came just three days before CBP announced its second largest methamphetamine seizure on Oct. 9 at the Otay Mesa Port Entry in San Diego. CBP officers seized more than 3,100 pounds of methamphetamine, along with 64 pounds heroin, 29 pounds of fentanyl powder and 37 pounds of pills. 

Together, the seizures “are more than enough to provide a dose of meth for every man, woman and child in the United States and Mexico,” Timothy Shea, acting administrator of the DEA, said Wednesday at a news conference.

Authorities have seen a dramatic increase in methamphetamine seizures near the border. Last year, meth overdoses rose 25%, Shea said. 

Border Patrol Makes Second-Largest Meth Bust Along Southwest Border

More than 3,100 pounds of meth were seized at the Otay Mesa Port Entry in San Diego.

By Steve Neavling

CBP officers made the second-largest methamphetamine bust ever along the Southwest border, seizing more than 3,100 pounds of the drug, along with 64 pounds heroin, 29 pounds of fentanyl powder and 37 pounds of pills. 

The drugs were found in a tractor-trailer on Oct. 9 at the Otay Mesa Port Entry in San Diego. 

A CBP officer ordered the driver of the truck to pull over for an inspection. Using the port’s imaging system, which is similar to an x-ray, CBP officers grew suspicious and sent the conveyance to a dock, where a canine alerted authorities to boxes inside the trailer. 

The drugs were co-mingled with medical supplies. 

The estimated value of the drugs is $7.2 million, CBP said.  

“Smugglers will try every way possible to try and get their product across the border and because of the partnership between CBP, Homeland Security investigations and DEA this significant seizure occurred and we stopped them,” Anne Maricich, acting CBP director of field operations in San Diego, said in a statement. “I’m proud of the CBP officers’ dedication to our mission; they continue to stop dangerous drugs from entering our communities.”

The driver, a 47-year-old Mexican resident, was arrested and turned over to ICE, Homeland Security Investigations and the DEA for further investigation. 

“This massive seizure is testament of what law enforcement agencies can do when we combine forces – prevent over $7 million worth of deadly drugs from entering our country; thus saving countless lives from addiction and overdose deaths,” DEA Special Agent in Charge John W. Callery said. “DEA cherishes our great law enforcement partners in San Diego, especially those who work tirelessly to protect our nation’s borders.  We will continue to work together to disrupt drug trafficking organizations at every opportunity we are given.” 

Inside the truck where 3,100 pounds of meth were found.

DOJ Operation Leads to Largest Seizure of Drugs Sold on Darknet sites

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Federal investigators have arrested dozens of people accused of trafficking drugs through Darknet sites, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.

The operation led to the seizure of more than $6.5 million in cash and virtual currencies, about 274 kilograms of drugs ranging from fentanyl and oxycodone to methamphetamine to heroin in the U.S., and 63 firearms.

The busts were part of operation DisrupTor, an international effort involving the Justice Department and law enforcement partners in Europe. It was the largest seizure of drugs sold online in U.S. history.

Darknet sites, which are on encrypted networks to make access difficult, have become a popular way to distribute illicit drugs.

“Criminals selling fentanyl on the Darknet should pay attention to Operation DisrupTor,” Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said in a news release. “The arrest of 179 of them in seven countries—with the seizure of their drug supplies and their money as well — shows that there will be no safe haven for drug dealing in cyberspace.”

“With the spike in opioid-related overdose deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognize that today’s announcement is important and timely,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said. “The FBI wants to assure the American public, and the world, that we are committed to identifying Darknet drug dealers and bringing them to justice.  But our work does not end with today’s announcement. The FBI, through JCODE and our partnership with Europol, continues to be actively engaged in a combined effort to disrupt the borderless, worldwide trade of illicit drugs. The FBI will continue to use all investigative techniques and tools to identify and prosecute Darknet opioid dealers, wherever they may be located.”

Click here to read prepared remarks on the busts.

Teen Killed by Liquid Meth After Border Agents Tell Him to Drink It


By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Cruz Velazquez Acevedo was just 16 years old when he began screaming in pain and convulsing after drinking liquid methamphetamine shortly after crossing the U.S. Mexico border to San Diego.

Teen drinks liquid meth after Border Patrol agents told him to prove he didn't have drugs in the bottle.

Teen drinks liquid meth after Border Patrol agents told him to prove he didn’t have drugs in the bottle.

According to a lawsuit filed about three-and-a-half years after his death, Border Patrol agents told Acevedo to drink the amber-colored liquid to prove it wasn’t laced with drugs, the Washington Post reports

A surveillance video shows Acevedo taking four sips from a drink he insisted was apple juice.

“My heart! My heart!” he screamed before dying two hours later, according to court records.

The U.S. has agreed to pay Acevedo’s family $1 million win the wrongful-death lawsuit filed against the agency and two border officers.

His family’s attorney, Eugene Iredale, acknowledged Acevedo broke the law, but he said, “It wasn’t a death penalty case.”

“To cause him to die in a horrible way that he did is something that is execrable.”

Weekend Series on Crime: Crystal Methamphetamine Side Effects

NTSB: Kentucky Truck Driver’s Meth Use, Fatigue Caused Crash That Killed 6 People

Chattanooga Truck accident, via Chattanooga Police Department.

Chattanooga Truck accident, via Chattanooga Police Department.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Kentucky truck driver who crashed on a Tennessee highway last year, killing six people, was fatigued, high on methamphetamine and failed to slow down in a construction zone, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

The June 2015 crash occurred on I-75 near Chattanooga and sparked safety changes.

The driver, Benjamin Brewer of London, crashed several times in the past, the Associated Press reports. 

“Our investigation reveals how this driver’s choices and actions, in the days and hours before the crash, led to the crash and loss of life,” NTSB chairman Christopher A. Hart said.

The AP wrote:

After probably going without “sustained rest” for 40 hours, Brewer was working for Cool Runnings Express Inc., also of London, when he failed to slow down with traffic entering a marked construction work zone. His truck first hit a Toyota Prius at speeds of 78 to 82 mph, and seven other vehicles and 18 people were involved. In addition to the six deaths, four people were injured. Brewer had stopped in Florida about 5:16 a.m. and was on his way to London when the crash occurred about 7:10 p.m. June 25, 2015. Brewer was arrested in Lexington.

Brewer didn’t take evasive action to avoid the crash, the NTSB found.

After the crash, he tested positive for methamphetamine, according to the NTSB, which saidthe drug affected his driving ability.

There were indicators that Brewer was unsafe, the NTSB said.

Two Security Screeners Accused of Helping Drug Smuggler Get Meth on Plane

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Two security screeners at San Francisco International Airport have been charged with accepting bribes in exchange for allowing smugglers to carry methamphetamine through an airport checkpoint, SFGate reports.

According to the federal complaint, Claudio Rene Sunux, 30, of San Francisco, and Amanda Lopez, 27 of South San Francisco, were security screeners contracted with the TSA when they allowed alleged drug smuggler, 28-year-old Anibal Giovanni Ramirez to pass through security with drugs in the carry-on luggage.

The airport screeners were charged with accepting a bribe and conspiring to distribute methamphetamine.

 Other Stories of Interest

Report: Man Who Died in Border Patrol Custody Was Believed to be Faking Seizure

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An American citizen died in U.S. Border Patrol custody after paramedics erroneously concluded that he was faking a seizure, according to a medical examiner’s report, Al Jazeera reports.

Steven Keith, 58, died on Christmas at a Southern California checkpoint facility about 20 miles from the border.

The cause of Keith’s death is an overdose from methamphetamine, which may have been the result of him swallowing a packet of meth that broke in his digestive system.

When Keith arrived at the Campo Border Patrol Station on Christmas eve, a paramedic was asked to examine him because of “seizure-like activity.”

“The paramedic reportedly applied pressure to his shoulder area and initially assessed that he was faking a seizure. He was then left alone in the cell and continued to be monitored via camera,” the report said.

When a Border Patrol agent checked on Keith’s cell, he was  “discovered lying unresponsive,” according to the report.