San Jose Meth Seizure Points Out Power of Drug Cartels

Police’s accidental discovery of huge methamphetamine stash provides evidence of drug cartel ability and intent to produce and distribute this damaging substance across the US.

Until the San Jose, California police department stumbled on 750 pounds of methamphetamine, it seemed like Thursday, March 1, 2012 was going to be a day like any other. But that was what they found when they entered an upscale apartment to look for a missing iPad.

The GPS of the device had led police to that address and the three residents were agreeable with the police entering and looking around. That’s when the police found bags and boxes of powder methamphetamine were being stored around the apartment. According to District Attorney Jeff Rosen, this seizure constituted more than six year’s worth of normal meth seizures in that community.

The retail value of the drugs totaled about $34 million. It was thought that the trio might have had the supply so they could convert the powder methamphetamine to crystal meth, a purer form that can be smoked.

In a later development, the US Drug Enforcement Administration announced that the three residents taken into custody from the apartment had ties to Mexican drug cartels. The specific cartel was not named, however just weeks before, the Mexican government had seized a record quantity of finished methamphetamine outside Guadalajara.

In that seizure on February 9, fifteen tons of the product were seized on a ranch in the Mexican countryside. According to the New York Times article on the seizure, the Mexican drugs were attributed to the Sinaloa cartel, a group with strong international connections. And in July 2011, more than 900 tons of meth-manufacturing chemicals were seized in Mexico, also reported in the New York Times.

Millions of Doses Taken Off the Street

Between these two seizures of finished methamphetamine, nearly 14 million doses of methamphetamine were taken off the market. This is more than enough to give every resident of Illinois one dose of meth; every adult, child and infant in the state. Another way of looking at it:  Just the methamphetamine in this one apartment was enough to give every teenager in San Jose between the ages of 15 and 19 a taste of what this drug is like.

Methamphetamine is highly addictive, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It may only take a few uses of this drug to develop a craving strong enough to make it a habit.

“Taking this drug off the market is of critical importance,” agreed Bobby Wiggins of Narconon International. Narconon is a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating substance abuse and addiction. “From these seizures, it is obvious that the drug cartels have every intention of continuing to manufacture and distribute this addictive substance throughout this country and others. Treatment and prevention must match the efforts of law enforcement if we are going to protect our citizens and especially our children.”

Mr. Wiggins cited the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “Every year, tens of thousands of Americans try methamphetamine for the first time,” he observed. “And the average age of first use has dropped from 22 in 2006 to 18.8 in 2010. Narconon staff and volunteers do their part to help by providing drug education to hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren each year on the dangers of drug abuse. Fifty Narconon rehab centers around the world provide rehabilitation for those who have become addicted.”

Mr. Wiggins concluded, “All three fronts of fighting this drug must be emphasized equally; law enforcement, treatment and prevention;  if we are going to defeat the efforts of the cartels to bring these drugs into our cities.”



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