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.
“The magnitude of this operation has a real impact not just for West County, but for the region,” El Cerrito Chief of Police Sylvia Moir told Patch, “And it shows by working together, we have a vibrant community dedicated to the eradication of guns, drugs violence on our streets.”
WEST CONTRA COSTA COUNTY Police Chief’s Association
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.
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