On March 20, 2014, agents from a California Department of Justice task force joined with the California Highway Patrol and federal investigators to seize 176 pounds of crystal methamphetamine from a home in Madera. The seizure is one of the largest methamphetamine caches uncovered in the Central Valley.
“Methamphetamine is a very serious threat to California’s public health and safety, and is frequently trafficked by transnational criminal organizations,” said Attorney General Kamala Harris.
Preliminary evidence indicates the methamphetamine was likely smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico in liquid form, then converted into its crystallized form at the Madera home before being distributed and sold.
Agents discovered the methamphetamine scattered throughout rooms in the Madera home. They also found a lab used to convert liquid methamphetamine into its crystallized form. Initial estimates place the value of the seized methamphetamine at approximately $750,000.
In addition to the drugs, investigators also seized other evidence at the scene, including $58,000 in cash. The residence was vacant at the time of the search and at the time no arrests were made.
"The sale, distribution and use of methamphetamine is a continuing and growing problem in the State of California and calls for local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to work together," said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association President Alan Barcelona. "It takes an incredible amount of resources to investigate these cases and puts agents and officers in harm's way."
The ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Central Valley Marijuana Investigation Team (CVMIT) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), with substantial assistance provided by the California Highway Patrol (CHP). Other agencies participating on the Central Valley High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Initiative (HIDTA) include the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; the Fresno Sheriff's Department, Madera and Tulare counties; the Fresno and Madera Police Departments; and the State of California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The investigation was the result of intelligence information provided by the CHP.