Comments Off on Rialto meth lab bust linked to violent Mexican drug cartel
RIALTO– A recent drug lab bust in Rialto has been linked to a violent Mexican drug cartel operating in at least four California counties and in Mexico, officials said.Operation Crystal Clear led to the seizure of 330 pounds of methamphetamine and the arrest of 11 members of the Millennium Cartel, a violent Mexican cartel that has worked alongside Los Zetas, one of the deadliest cartels in Mexico allegedly responsible for hundreds of brutal killings.

On Aug. 9, several narcotics, state Justice Department and local authorities converged on a quiet street in Rialto to shut down a meth lab operating for about a month and a half out of a rented home, officials said.

That night, Operation Crystal Clear officials removed 191 pounds of methamphetamine from the home as well as $15,000 in cash, according to a media release from the Merced County District Attorney’s office.

Angela Yameleth Gonzalez, 26, of Rialto was arrested along with an unidentified man.

A tip from an informant, which initially led the Merced Multi-Agency Narcotics Task Force to a pound of methamphetamine in April, allowed investigators to unravel and uncover a transnational drug ring operating in Merced, Los Angeles, Alameda and San Bernardino counties.

A raid on a Victorville home turned up 42 pounds of the drug and resulted in the arrest of Juan Andres Almarez, 28, of Adelanto.

The announcement of Operation Crystal Clear came only a few days before federal authorities brought down a Pomona-based drug organization Thursday with ties to a violent prison gang, a Mexican drug cartel and the Mexican Mafia.

The Rialto raid was one of many raids of drug labs where the liquid form of methamphetamine is crystallized, said Detective Frank Lyga with the Los Angeles Impact Crime Lab Task Force.

Some of the ingredients used to manufacture methamphetamine became harder to get in large quantities, specifically pseudoephedrine, which is found in many over-the-counter medications, including Sudafed, after states cracked down on how the medications were purchased, officials said.

The production of the drug then went south of the border, authorities said.

Thursday, the Drug Enforcement Administration pledged to continue to work with the Mexican government to quell the manufacturing of methamphetamine in Mexico under a new memorandum of cooperation.

“With the majority of methamphetamine in the US being produced by Mexican drug organizations operating on both sides of the border, it is essential for our two countries to target the problem together,” Michele M. Leonhart, DEA administrator said in a press release.


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