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Authorities: Cartel meth labs California as main entry point

The Attorney General in California, along with other state law enforcement officials, have announced what they say is the "takedown" of a transnational drug trafficking cartel having its center in Contra Costa County. Many would envision the methamphetamine trade in the United States to consist of small meth labs spread around the country, with perhaps an occasional high-volume lab along the line of a "Breaking Bad" scenario. However, in California the authorities claim that a major transnational conspiracy exists which includes the manufacture of the drug in Mexico and its shipment to points in California for widespread distribution.

Authorities say that the culmination of several investigations has resulted in the arrest of a total of 67 people on California drug charges. It also resulted in the seizure of 1,100 pounds of meth having a street value of $40.2 million and $1.82 million in cash, according to the state's attorney general. This was all the alleged result of the state's investigation of the Sinaloa Federation drug cartel in Mexico, apparently carried out with the cooperation of the Mexican government.

Authorities claim that the meth was delivered to certain gangs in Southern California for further distribution. They claim that the Mexican cartel uses California as the main entry point for meth distribution in the United States. For individuals who have been swept up and arrested in any of these related operations, immediate consultation with experienced California drug counsel will clearly be necessary.

A complex process of negotiations and legal motions generally occurs early in big drug busts, including those involving meth labs, large drug quanitities and numerous defendants. Where a defendant's role was minor, counsel will build a defense, or a plea negotiation, on that fact. In some cases, the accused will benefit by early cooperation and forthright discussions under defense counsel's vigilant guidance. In others, the authorities may have swept an innocent person into their wide net. In those cases, the focus will be on obtaining the accused person's release at the earliest possible time.

Source: CBS SF Bay Area, "500 Pound Cartel Meth Bust Unveiled In Contra Costa County", Oct. 20, 2014

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