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El Paso’s former U.S. Marshal says DEA crackdown targeting meth from Mexico is needed

Former El Paso U.S. Marshall Robert Almonte.

EL PASO, Texas -- The former El Paso U.S. Marshal said Friday that a Drug Enforcement Administration plan to fight a meth uptick in key U.S. cities like El Paso is needed.

"I think that is what it takes is law enforcement being proactive and going after the cartels, going after the drugs that are coming across border - with the emphasis on taking down more of these loads along the border," said former federal marshal Robert Almonte.

DEA seizures of methamphetamine in the U.S. increased by 127%, from 49,507 pounds to 112,146 pounds between 2017 and 2019, and DEA arrests related to the drug rose nearly 20%, the agency said.

Almonte, who is also a retired assistant El Paso police chief and narcotics detective, said he has seen firsthand how traffickers are finding new ways to bring in meth from Mexico.

"What we're also seeing is the liquid methamphetamine coming over here crossing the border in liquid form. Then it is converted or taken to a conversion lab and converted to a finished powder product," Almonte said.

Just last week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized more than 1,500 pounds of liquid meth at El Paso's Ysleta port of entry. A DEA calculation estimates that seizure alone could have a street value of $100 million.

"The only way these people are going to get off of methamphetamine is by seeking treatment. Along with that however, people will not seek treatment on their own - unless they are forced to. And how are they forced into treatment? By being arrested. I think its a combination of law enforcement, prevention and treatment," Almonte explained.

The DEA said its meth crackdown will target drug transportation hubs in eight cities, including El Paso.

Acting DEA administrator Uttam Dhillon said the "drug law enforcement initiative will attack the growing methamphetamine threat in the United States and the global criminal organizations responsible for flooding our communities and neighborhoods with this deadly drug."

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JC Navarrete

El Paso native JC Navarrete co-anchors ABC-7’s weekend newscasts and reports during the week.


1 Comment

  1. DEA seizures up by 127%, really? The DEA keeps taking credit where the credit belongs to other agencies. The DEA pads their statistics with CBP, Border Patrol, Texas DPS, and other agencies that actually make the seizures and then turn them over to the DEA for disposition.

    That doesn’t mean that the DEA has seized anything. In fact, the DEA’s seizures are so poor that it has to pad its numbers so that it can keep on being funded by the idiots in Washington DC that are too stupid to know any better. If the DEA were to report statistical data that it is actually responsible for seizing and not those that have been turned over to them by other law enforcement agencies, it would not be able to justify its existence. The El Paso DEA SAC has a lot of nerve announcing the statistics on seizures for drugs it has poached from other agencies.

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