WEST VIRGINIA (WOAY) – The United States Drug Enforcement Administration this week announced the conclusion of Operation Crystal Mountain, a sweeping enforcement action spanning three states. DEA special agents, working closely with their state and local counterparts throughout Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia targeted Mexican drug cartels, drug trafficking organizations and other individuals involved in the manufacturing and distribution of methamphetamine. More than 800 pounds of methamphetamine were interdicted or seized during the operation.
“Everyone has a right to live in safety. The amount of drugs and weapons we’ve taken off the street with this operation, along with the number of drug dealers that we’ve locked up, represents a small victory in our on-going fight for safer communities for us all,” D. Christopher Evans, Special Agent in Charge of DEA’s Louisville Division Office said. “While America’s opioid crisis may dominate headlines, Operation Crystal Mountain should serve as a reminder that methamphetamine is a problem that has never gone away. The dedicated men and women of DEA, working closely with state and local law enforcement, are relentless in their efforts to rid our neighborhoods of dangerous drugs and bring to justice those who distribute them, wherever they may be.”
“West Virginia has been the epicenter of the opioid epidemic and now another scourge is plaguing our state – crystal meth,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart. “Meth is also powerful and deadly and the traffickers are armed and dangerous. Yesterday’s meth during our previous crisis was made in local bake houses, poor quality and less than 20% pure. Today’s meth is far more refined, imported, up to 98% pure and far more powerful. With the help of our law enforcement partners, we are prosecuting scores of meth dealers and locking them up for significant prison sentences. We’re using every possible resource to rid our streets of drug dealers and keep West Virginia families safe.”
Operation Crystal Mountain is the culmination of several investigations that began earlier this year. Since January, DEA special agents from the Louisville Field Division, with support from state and local law enforcement agencies across the region, have arrested 235 individuals on federal drug-related charges and seized more than $800,000.00 in cash and 52 firearms, as well as significant quantities of heroin, fentanyl, and other drugs. During this same timeframe, DEA assisted its state and local counterparts with the arrest of 140 additional offenders on state-level drug charges.
While the opioid epidemic has ravaged the nation, several large swaths of the U.S. see meth as their primary drug threat. The majority of the methamphetamine in the U.S. is produced in Mexico and trafficked by Mexican DTOs. However, DEA continues to work to disrupt and dismantle all components of both foreign and domestic organizations which produce and traffic methamphetamine.