Epartment of Justice Announces Results of Historic Meth Crackdown Operation
Las Vegas, Nev. - Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada, and Michael P. Flanagan, Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Las Vegas District Office, announced today the involvement of the District of Nevada in the DEA-led "Operation Wildfire," the largest nationally coordinated law enforcement effort designed to target all levels of the methamphetamine manufacturing and distribution chain in the United States.
In Las Vegas, during the month of August 2005, local law enforcement officials partnered with the DEA to arrest 21 individuals and seize four clandestine methamphetamine laboratories, 20,000 grams of methamphetamine, $51,626 in assets, one assault rifle and two semi-automatic pistols. In Reno, during the same time frame, local law enforcement officials partnered with the DEA to arrest 9 individuals and seize four clandestine methamphetamine laboratories, 3,050 grams of methamphetamine, $510 in assets, and four semi-automatic pistols.
Agencies involved in Operation Wildfire in Las Vegas and Reno include the DEA, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Henderson Police Department, Nevada Highway Patrol, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Reno Police Department, Sparks Police Department, and Washoe County Sheriff's Office.
"Through the coordinated efforts of our federal, state and local partners and initiatives, such as the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Task Force and Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, we have been attacking the methamphetamine problem in Nevada for a number of years," said U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden. "Operation Wildfire represents a continued effort in the Reno and Las Vegas areas to target those who participate in methamphetamine production and distribution."
In a press conference held today at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and DEA Administrator Karen Tandy announced the streamlined efforts of federal, state, and local officials to successfully execute this nationwide operation. This unprecedented law enforcement effort involved over 200 U.S. cities and resulted in the arrest of 427 individuals. The streamlined efforts of federal, state, and local law enforcement resulted in the seizure of 209 pounds of methamphetamine, 201,035 tablets of pseudoephedrine, 158 kilograms of pseudoephedrine powder and 224,860 tablets of ephedrine. Fifty-six clandestine laboratories were seized in the nationwide sweep and 30 endangered children were removed from their meth environments. Finally, 28 vehicles and 123 weapons were seized during the raids and a total of 96 search warrants were executed.
Operation Wildfire follows President George W. Bush's national strategy to battle the meth drug plague as announced last week by Attorney General Gonzales in Nashville, Tennessee.
"The scourge of methamphetamine demands strong partnerships and innovative solutions to fight the devastation it leaves behind," said Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales. "Through Operation Wildfire, we have joined with state and local law enforcement to successfully pursue meth peddlers and producers in over 200 cities. The Department of Justice is committed to using every available resource to ensure that our streets and neighborhoods are safe and that the methamphetamine problem is brought to an end."
Operation Wildfire was successful, because of the numerous law enforcement and drug diversion tactics practiced by the DEA and their state and local law enforcement partners including; undercover meth purchases; meth laboratory identification and seizures; execution of search and arrest warrants; identification and dismantlement of large-scale meth trafficking organizations; deployment of DEA Mobile Enforcement Teams to assist state and local authorities in their meth investigations; and the investigations of pseudoephedrine importers, grey-market wholesalers, and retailers.
The Justice Department and the DEA have been fighting methamphetamine for over 20 years. Operation Wildfire demonstrates the sustained efforts of the Department to target an unprecedented rise in the use, trafficking and manufacture of methamphetamine nationwide and to make advances on the national and international front to combat this unique drug. The actions of the past week represent the largest single enforcement effort against meth, but it is far from the first. Last week the DEA announced the dismantling of three major drug transportation organizations that each month brought in enough meth for more than 22,000 users in the U.S.
The battle against this destructive drug is one of nationwide consequences and the Justice Department partnering with the DEA are committed to sweeping meth out of America's streets and homes. The fight against this highly addictive drug requires coordination at all levels and Operation Wildfire shows the dedication of law enforcement officials to work cooperatively to overcome this grave threat to society.
Community involvement among neighbors, parents, community leaders, schools, and businesses is also an essential component in this fight. It is extremely important to educate young people about the irreversible harm to the body and damage to the quality of life this drug leaves in its wake. In conjunction with this enforcement effort, DEA launched a new website today as part of its efforts to raise public awareness about the dangers of the drug. The anti-drug website, www.justthinktwice.com, gives teens and their parents the straight facts about methamphetamine, and it's not a pretty picture. The realities of meth's physical and emotional tolls are bluntly described and accompanied by photos that show before and after images of meth users. These photos graphically depict the ravages of meth on the user and make a strong statement about its consequences.