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45 San Diego Gang Members Charged With Meth, Gun Crimes

Aired 2/7/14 on KPBS News.

The U.S. Attorney's Office announced indictments for methamphetamine and gun charges against 45 people involved with six criminal gangs in San Diego.

The U.S Attorney’s Office in San Diego announced indictments against 45 people for charges related to gun and methamphetamine trafficking on Thursday. Authorities said the meth was distributed in San Diego, but also as far as Hawaii, Guam and Minnesota.

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Search Warrant for Crystal Palace II

Search Warrant for Crystal Palace II

The indictments followed a yearlong investigation into six ...

The indictments followed a yearlong investigation into six San Diego street gangs, including the Oriental Killer Boys, Linda Vista Crips and Logan Heights Calle Treinta.

Most of the meth allegedly sold by suspects was from Mexico, U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said in a press conference. She added that some of the meth was extremely pure — “mid and high 90 percentage.”

Duffy called meth “the perfect commodity for gangs because there’s no shortages of customers.”

The indictments came just a few days after the San Diego Meth Strike Force announced that deaths caused by methamphetamine use in the county were up more than 55 percent since 2008.

In 2012, 217 San Diegans died of meth-related causes — the second highest number since the county began tracking the problem in 1995.

“What we have is a tremendous public health crisis on our hands,” Duffy said.

The number of meth-related cases prosecuted by federal authorities in San Diego and Imperial counties has also risen more than fivefold over the last five years, Duffy said. More than 900 cases were prosecuted in fiscal year 2013.

Duffy said her office would be “taking a harder look at the role that we play in attacking the methamphetamine problem in this district.”

She promised more resources and efforts in the areas of enforcement, treatment and prevention. She also said her office would be reexamining the way it deals with repeat methamphetamine traffickers.

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