FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FRIDAY, DECEMBER 5, 1997

CRM (202) 514-2008 TDD (202) 514-1888

REMARKS OF ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO OPERATION METH PRESS CONFERENCE DECEMBER 5, 1997 Good afternoon. In the past 36 hours, we have taken another step forward in our crackdown on drug trafficking. With the arrests of 57 suspects, the wind-up of Operation Meta has resulted in the shutdown of three methamphetamine and cocaine trafficking rings that plagued the cities of Los Angeles, Dallas, and Greensboro, North Carolina. For more than a year, the Anguiano and Virgen organizations and a separate Dallas-based organization joined forces to manufacture and distribute hundreds of pounds of these dangerous drugs around America, from the lab to the street. In many cases, these drugs and their precursor chemicals were smuggled in from Mexico. Operation Meta, began this May and has now resulted in a grand total of 100 arrests. It is just the latest step in implementing the National Methamphetamine Strategy the Administration announced in April 1996. The operation was dangerous, it was difficult, and it took meticulous planning and coordination on the part of federal, state and local law enforcement across America. This remarkable partnership has now achieved another success. I am very proud of the work done by the Justice Department and the Treasury agencies, including the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, and the federal HIDTA organization. I especially want to thank all of the dedicated state and local law enforcement officials who have made a major contribution to this day. To anyone who has forgotten about the dangers posed by

methamphetamine, consider this: In Los Angeles, Operation Meta has dismantled three meth labs. One operated just a few yards away from a day care center and two schools, and the fleeing traffickers left 15 gallons of toxic and volatile chemicals still cooking. Special credit goes to the California Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement for their work in taking down this lab when it was in such a dangerous state. Progress in this fight comes one hard day at a time. But make no mistake: We are making progress. We are disrupting the methamphetamine trade. We are closing labs. And to the merchants of meth, we make this pledge: Your days are numbered. We have done very well today, but we are not letting up tomorrow or the next day. We will not tolerate your threat to our children and our neighborhoods, and we are not going to let methamphetamine spread across America the way crack did in the 1980s. I want to thank the many officers, prosecutors and agents who participated in making Operation Meta a success. All the people on the front line who have worked so hard.

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