'Meth' Production Thrives in Central Valley
As methamphetamine production spreads to rural areas across the country, law enforcement officials say California’s Central Valley is Ground Zero.
Friday, August 6, 2004
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, California produces about 85 percent of the methamphetamine in the country. State officials say the bulk of the production is generated in the Central Valley. YOSHIMOTO:05—Experts have dubbed the Central Valley the Columbia of methamphetamine production for the United States. That’s William Yoshimoto, a Central Valley prosecutor, who specializes in rural crime. He says the region’s geography is hospitable to producers. YOSHIMOTO :13—Those who are producing are looking for remote locations far away from urban areas and far away from people who may be able to smell the fumes or see the types of activities that are taking place at the industrial sized labs that we have here. Investigators say the region is additionally attractive because the major highways that transcend the Valley facilitate distribution of the drug once it’s produced. Sergeant Michael Richards of the Stanislaus County Drug Enforcement Task Force says organized cartels are responsible for most of the “meth” production from the so-called “super labs”. RICHARDS :14—The large organizations are usually family organizations with connections to Mexico and the majority of the money they’re make while they’re making the methamphetamine and distributing it is then sent to the families in Mexico. Yoshimoto and Richards say combating the “meth” cartels has become more effective in recent years thanks to coordination of local, state and federal resources. But both say production and trafficking of the illicit drug continues to increase in the Valley. Bob Hensley KXJZ News.