HOUSTON – The Drug Enforcement Administration is targetting eight U.S. cities, including Houston, that are considered “transportation hubs” where methamphetamine is often trafficked in bulk, the agency announced in a press release Thursday.
The following cities that officials will focus attention on during “Operation Crystal Shield” are Houston, Dallas, El Paso, Atlanta, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Phoenix and St. Louis.
“Together, these DEA Field Divisions accounted for more than 75% of methamphetamine seized in the U.S. in 2019," officials wrote in the press release.
DEA officials said Mexican drug cartels typically manufacture meth in Mexico and then sell it for cheap in the U.S., targetting people addicted to opioids.
“Virtually all methamphetamine in the United States comes through major ports of entry along the Southwest Border and is transported by tractor-trailers and personal vehicles along the nation’s highways to major transfer centers around the country,” officials wrote.
The DEA said meth is often found being transported in “poly-drug loads,” alongside cocaine, heroin and fentanyl.
“These organizations are violent, they are ruthless and they know no bounds," said Special Agent Steven Whipple, of the Houston division of DEA. “In addition to the tragedy that we have here in our own country dealing with the addiction, we have the potential for that kind of violence here that already exits in Mexico.”
Houston has seen a 47% uptick in meth-related seizures and the goal of Operation Cyrstal Shield is to help provide more funding and man-hours as part of the resources to combat the growing issue, officials said.