As drug busts go, the latest announced by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Los Angeles Division was mammoth — the largest meth seizure ever for the division. More than 3,550 pounds of methamphetamine and 145 pounds of cocaine were found in a Southern California home, according to the AP.
Investigators watching a possible stash house in Norco late last month observed an individual carry three boxes from the residence to a vehicle, the statement said. A search of the vehicle turned up the cocaine and the meth was found in the garage of the home, according to the DEA.
The seized drugs have an estimated street value of $33 million, officials said.
DEA Los Angeles announced the haul on Twitter, Thursday:
Record breaking methamphetamine seizure for #DEA #LA. Approx 3,552 lbs of meth & 66 kilos of cocaine seized from a stash house in Norco, CA & out of our communities. The estimated street value of the drugs is $33 million dollars💵. @FontanaPD
— DEALosAngeles (@DEALOSANGELES) October 6, 2022
Per their press release:
The greater Los Angeles area is a major transshipment hub where illegal drugs coming from the southwest border are stored in local warehouses, storage units, and residential properties. The bulk shipments of drugs are usually broken down into smaller quantities and transported to other states or distributed to local dealers. The greater Los Angeles area has many international airports, freeways, and bus and train lines that make it easy for shipments to be smuggled to other destinations.
This investigation is being conducted by Fontana Police Department and DEA Los Angeles Field Division. This investigation into the drug trafficking organization is ongoing.
In 2021, a record number of Americans – 107,622 – died from a drug poisoning or overdose. A large percentage of those deaths can be attributed to synthetic drugs such as fentanyl and methamphetamine.
The drugs, unsurprisingly, are linked to Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel. The sinister organization, established in the 1980s, has been wreaking havoc along the porous southern border, destroying countless lives. (See, e.g., Beloved NC Basketball Coach Dies in Shootout with the Sinaloa Drug Cartel.)
Some additional background:
The Sinaloa Cartel, often described as the largest and most powerful drug trafficking organization in the Western Hemisphere, is an alliance of some of Mexico’s top capos. The coalition’s members operate in concert to protect themselves, relying on connections at the highest levels and corrupting portions of the federal police and military to maintain the upper hand against rivals.
The Sinaloa Cartel’s tentacles stretch from New York City to Buenos Aires and almost every major city in between. The cartel was founded in Mexico’s Sinaloa state and now operates in 17 Mexican states, and by some estimates, in as many as 50 countries.
Following the seizure, Special Agent in Charge Charles Bodner had this to say:
“Synthetic drugs like methamphetamine are highly addictive, dangerous and killing people at alarming rates. This massive seizure likely saved lives and prevented the Sinaloa cartel from doing business and profiting on the lives of people in our communities.”