The San Francisco Bay Area was home to a massive raid of illegal drugs that resulted in the arrest of dozens of suspects and the seizure of more than half a ton of methamphetamine, federal authorities said on Thursday.
Four separate investigations over one and a half years which involved various federal, state, and local law enforcement authorities were part of ‘Operation Burnt Orange.’
Large-Scale Drug Raid
Officials traced shipments of narcotics from the Mexican border to the Bay Area, using federal wiretaps and informants, authorities said at a news conference. Authorities also discovered drugs hidden inside a spare tire during one of their investigations.
Authorities said 44 people who were alleged suspects of drug trafficking supplied by the Sinaloa Cartel were charged. They said dozens of identified suspects were still on the loose.
United States Attorney of Northern District of California, David Anderson, said the indictments “reflect drug trafficking from procurement, to transportation, to distribution to mid-level dealers, and all the way down to street level sales,” and added, “Countless individuals and entire communities suffer, but drug traffickers have no regard for the destruction caused in their path.”
Police confiscated 1,100 pounds of methamphetamine, 40 pounds of cocaine and heroin, and 500 grams of fentanyl during the operation. “The scope is breathtaking,” said Anderson. Federal agents in the area defined the amount of methamphetamine confiscated as the largest of its kind.
The special agent in charge of the DEA’s San Francisco Division, Daniel C. Comeaux, said they confiscated enough drugs to provide 80 million doses.
“Methamphetamine that is pure, potent, and cheap has flooded the American market, and drug trafficking organizations see an opportunity to profit. They utilize distribution hubs, like the Bay Area, to distribute their poison. As methamphetamine overdoses rise, the significant drug seizures in this investigation has undoubtedly saved lives,” Comeaux said.
Almost a dozen weapons and over $200,000 in cash were recovered. Gun parts and firearms, such as assault rifles, sniper rifles, and grenade launchers bound for Mexico, were purchased in the U.S., authorities claimed, FOX40 reported.
In Sunnyvale, authorities said the confiscated meth in January was the biggest single arrest where 11 guns and 572 pounds of drugs were seized. Five men were charged with illegally purchasing weapons and gun parts, which included assault weapons, in the United States despite being bound for Mexico.
“The defendants allegedly combined the firearms with grenade launchers assembled in Mexico and attempted to obtain .50-caliber sniper rifles and grenade launchers for resale on the black market,” the U.S. attorney’s office said in a statement.