SACRAMENTO- The California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) applauds Attorney General Kamala Harris and the California Department of Justice (DOJ) for recognizing the dire need for a new anti-methamphetamine team of DOJ special agents based in Los Angeles.
"California has a serious illegal drug issue and methamphetamine is one of the biggest," said CSLEA President and DOJ Special Agent Alan Barcelona. "This is a crime fight that cannot be ignored and must have a tremendous amount of resources dedicated to it. California DOJ once had the oldest narcotic enforcement bureau in the U.S. until it was eliminated due to budget cuts. DOJ special agents know how to target major drug dealers, violent career criminals and those who make, distribute and sell illegal drugs. We have a lot of catching up to do. Let's tackle this issue."
On October 6, 2014, Harris announced, the new team, funded by a $1 million federal grant, will investigate illicit activities related to the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine in California. The team will work in a coordinated effort with other existing California Department of Justice task forces including The Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force (LA IMPACT).
According to the Attorney General, transnational criminal organizations have made California the single biggest point of entry for methamphetamine into the United States, with 70% entering through the San Diego Port of Entry.
The new California DOJ team will be comprised of six special agents. DOJ currently leads 18 task forces throughout the state.
In March, Harris called the trafficking of methamphetamine a growing threat to the state and a top priority for law enforcement in a report, Gangs Beyond Borders: California and the Fight Against Transnational Organized Crime. The report outlined recommendations to address this problem, which include increased funding for state anti-narcotics trafficking task forces and additional coordination between federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in combating transnational criminal organizations.