Fresno police seized about 24 pounds of methamphetamine worth at least $200,000 during an undercover bust Tuesday morning, Chief Jerry Dyer announced.
Police said the “major” shipment of crystal meth from Northern California was sent to Fresno for distribution. The meth would have been sold to drug dealers, who would have altered it and distributed it throughout the city, Dyer said.
“Meth addicts are a plague to this community,” Dyer said. “A lot of the violent crime, nearly all of the auto thefts and most of the residential and commercial burglaries in our community are committed by those addicted.”
Dyer said Tuesday’s bust was the largest such seizure in “at least several years.”
Juan Luis Calles-Tapia, 40, was arrested during the bust after he allegedly offered to sell the drugs to undercover detectives for $7,500 per kilogram. Calles-Tapia, who lives in Modesto and is originally from Mexico, had more than a dozen bags of crystal meth in a box in the backseat of his car, Dyer said.
Calles-Tapia will face federal drug trafficking charges.
The arrest comes after a six-month joint investigation by Fresno police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration into methamphetamine trafficking operations in the city. No other arrests had been made as of Tuesday, but investigations are ongoing.
Dyer said drug trafficking remains a problem in Fresno and nationwide, but that busts like the one made Tuesday “can have a significant impact” on citywide crime.
Sgt. Tim Tietjen, supervisor of the Fresno police narcotics team, said his officers hope to disrupt violent crime and gang activity by targeting major drug operations in Fresno.