OKLAHOMA CITY — A large-scale methamphetamine manufacturing operation was shut down Saturday with the arrest of three illegal aliens from Mexico, and the seizure of 121 pounds of meth seized with a street value of $1.5 million.
This investigation was generated by members of the HSI “Green Twister Task Force” comprised of the following agencies: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics (OBN), Oklahoma City Police Department, Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Department, and the Canadian County (Oklahoma) Sheriff’s Department.
As part of a joint investigation into a criminal organization, OBN agents accompanied by HSI special agents conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle Jan. 8 near Southwest 25th and Portland Avenue in Oklahoma City. A probable cause search of the vehicle resulted in the discovery of 15.3 pounds of crystal methamphetamine. The traffic stop led to a search warrant being executed at a home located at 2921 Southwest 39th Terrace, Oklahoma City where agents discovered a large-scale meth manufacturing operation. Inside the residence, Agents found several more pounds of crystal meth, as well as canisters containing multiple pounds of liquid meth that was in the process is of being converted into crystal meth. In total, this investigation netted 121 pounds of meth in either crystal or liquid form with an approximate street value of $1.5 million.
In addition to the significant meth seizure, three illegal aliens from Mexico have been arrested on state narcotics-trafficking charges: Felipe De Jesus Sanchez Martinez, 27, Marisol Valdez Nava, and Luis Carlos Castaneda Espinoza. More arrests are possible as the investigation continues.
OBN Spokesman Mark Woodward says this case is an example of a new meth trafficking trend by the Mexican drug cartels to avoid detection by border security and U.S. law enforcement highway interdiction officers.
“Rather than cooking crystal meth in Mexico and smuggling the finished product across the border, we are seeing a trend by the cartels to ship the liquid meth in vehicle gas tanks, car batteries and windshield wiper fluid compartments into the U.S. where it is chemically converted into crystal meth or ‘ice’ once it reaches the city or state of distribution,” said Mark Woodward, OBN Spokesman.
OBN Interim Director Bob Cook says this investigation is a great example of what federal, state and local agencies can accomplish when they work together to target and remove criminal threats in the state of Oklahoma.