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West Contra Costa Law Enforcement Officials Seize Millions of Dollars in Gang Related Drugs and Firearms

The Pinole and Hercules Police Departments helped identify a criminal enterprise trafficking large amounts of methamphetamine and other controlled substances in Contra Costa County.

The Pinole and Hercules Police Departments worked with other West-Net Agencies to seize millons of dollars in drugs and firearms.
The Pinole and Hercules Police Departments worked with other West-Net Agencies to seize millons of dollars in drugs and firearms.

A two year investigation of a criminal enterprise operating in the West Contra Costa area comes to a close, resulting in the seizure of approximately 475 pounds of methamphetamine--a street value of over $17 million dollars--and 17 subjects arrested for suspicion of drug and firearms related offenses.

Known as Operation Crystal Lens, agents of the West Contra Costa County Narcotic Team (West-NET) comprised of ten local agencies, included the El Cerrito Police Department, teamed up with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to serve several search and arrest warrants throughout Contra Costa County.

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WEST CONTRA COSTA COUNTY Police Chief’s Association
PRESS RELEASE

In November 2013, the West Contra Costa County Narcotic Team (West-NET) comprised of ten local agencies and supervised by a California Department of Justice Task Force Commander, teamed with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to conclude a two year investigation of a criminal enterprise operating in the West Contra Costa County area.

As a result of the investigation, known as Operation Crystal Lens, agents of the West-NET task force coordinated a major enforcement takedown serving several search and arrest warrants throughout Contra Costa County, effectively dismantling a major drug trafficking organization in our communities.

The primary mission of West-NET is the investigation and eventual disruption and dismantlement of criminal drug trafficking organizations that impact our communities. The narcotic investigation team consists of law enforcement partners from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in Contra Costa County.

Operation Crystal Lens, in conjunction with a previous narcotic trafficking investigation in 2009, identified a criminal enterprise trafficking large amounts of methamphetamine and other controlled substances in Contra Costa County.

Through Operation Crystal Lens, investigators learned the enterprise is a recipient of controlled substances from the Sinaloa Cartel. Law enforcement also found the criminal enterprise is involved in the trafficking of narcotics, firearms, the laundering of proceeds. The targets of the investigation have been identified as being connected to the Norteno criminal street gang.

During the course of the wrap-up of the Operation Crystal Lens 17 subjects were arrested for suspicion of drug and firearms related offenses. One suspect named Garbriel URTIZ is still outstanding The Operation Crystal Lens resulted in the seizure of approximately 475 pounds of methamphetamine, with a street value of over $17 million dollars, 158 grams of cocaine, valued at $12,000, numerous firearms with high capacity magazines, U.S. Currency in excess of $950,000.00, along with the seizure of numerous vehicles and motorcycles used to facilitate the trafficking of controlled substances.

This investigation would not be possible without the leadership and support of the West Contra Costa Executive Board and the delineated law enforcement and prosecutorial law enforcement agencies.                

West-NET Agencies:
California Department of Justice, Bureau of Investigation
Contra Costa County Probation Department
Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office
El Cerrito Police Department                  
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Hercules Police Department
Kensington Police Department
Northern California High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA)
Pinole Police Department
Richmond Police Department
San Pablo Police Department

                  

Patty O'Day January 17, 2014 at 12:23 PM
Great job by our Police Officers. I have a question. What happens to the cash and motorcycles, etc. when this is all done in court? Any way Hercules PD can get some of the funds?
Selina Williams January 17, 2014 at 03:04 PM
Kudo's to our terrific police force! I heard that San Pablo was a meth capital and so its shocking but not a surprise to hear about, but $17million in value, oh my! That's really breaking bad. Patty, the confiscated assets are usually sold at auction (at least that's how it works in SF). The cash, that probably goes to the state, like unclaimed property.
CHACHA January 18, 2014 at 05:14 PM
Dont let the state get/take it, u/we'll never see it! They r crocked aa the drug-dealers/crocks! The state got their hands on an old defunct American Savings Bank (El Cerrito, CA) my child gifts & minors account/savings $$$ when going thru a bad divorce, etc, n when I found out several years later they claimed they returned my money to the bank n/or me (tho when I asked the State to prove that they in fact returned it e/a canceled check or doc/letter etc they couldnt/didnt) but just gave me more lies n/or BS! Long story short, they never refunded me my defunct account-savings of over $1,000 w/interest! I guess have no recourse, as their word is god/gold, tho I have the proof n docs 2 prove them wrong!?
Selina Williams January 22, 2014 at 02:58 PM
Correcting that statement, NOT San Pablo, El Sobrante, meth capital of the East Bay.

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