By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Dozens of people were arrested, and more than 5,000 pounds of methamphetamine and nearly $16 million was seized in the Southern California area amid a nationwide operation to disrupt the Mexican cartels’ drug “transportation hubs.”

The six-month-long “Operation Crystal Shield” launched on Feb. 20 after the DEA identified nine major methamphetamine trafficking hubs: Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Houston, El Paso, Dallas, St. Louis, New Orleans and Atlanta. The DEA says these nine cities together accounted for more than 75% of the methamphetamine seized in 2019.

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The Los Angeles Field Division – which includes includes all of Southern California from Orange to San Luis Obispo counties, as well as Las Vegas/Reno, Hawaii, Guam and Saipan – accounted for 16 investigations, 34 arrests, and the seizure of 5,752 pounds of methamphetamine, more than $15.9 million in drug proceeds and three firearms.

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“This targeted operation, even amid the pandemic, allowed us to rid the community of a dangerous and highly addictive drug that is plaguing our streets in Los Angeles and elsewhere,” Bill Bodner, special agent in charge of the Los Angeles Field Division, said in a statement.

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The results of the six-month-long “Operation Crystal Shield” were announced by Attorney General Barr and Acting Administrator Timothy J. Shea in Phoenix Thursday. The nationwide operation generated more than 750 investigations, nearly 1,840 arrests, and the seizure of more than 28,560 pounds of methamphetamine, 284 firearms and $43.3 million in drug proceeds.