A Drug Enforcement Administration investigation into narcotics trafficking in Oklahoma and surrounding states led to the arrest of more than 300 people. News of the arrests was released on Sept. 12 by the DEA and the U.S. attorney general. Known as “Operation Crystal Shield,” the investigation was launched six months ago to combat the methamphetamine trafficking operations of southern drug cartels. Oklahoma is one of the main transportation hubs used by the cartels according to federal law enforcement.

Drug seizures

In addition to taking hundreds of suspects into custody, a series of drug raids conducted by the DEA and state and local police reportedly led to the discovery and seizure of more than 9,600 pounds of crystal methamphetamine and approximately 140 firearms. The drugs seized in Oklahoma and Texas during Operation Crystal Shield would have been worth about $8 million if they had been sold on the street according to officials. Across the country, federal agents taking part in the operation are said to have seized more than $43 million worth of illegal drugs.

Hampering cartels

During a press conference held to announce the results of Operation Crystal Shield, a senior DEA official said that methamphetamine trafficking and distribution was one of the biggest problems faced by law enforcement in Oklahoma. The official also said that funds should be allocated to fighting addiction as well as crime.

Federal narcotics cases

The penalties for violating federal narcotics laws are harsh, and defendants who are found guilty by juries might be sent to prison for many years. This is why many individuals facing federal drug charges choose to avoid court by entering into plea agreements. During plea negotiations, experienced criminal defense attorneys may be able to persuade U.S. attorneys to make significant sentencing concessions in drug cases by offering them swift resolutions.