A two-year investigation of a criminal enterprise operating in the West Contra Costa County Area netted 17-arrest and nearly $18 million in drugs, guns, cash, and vehicles.
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.
Official 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 Federal Bureau of Investigations 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 substance 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-ups of the Operation Crystal Lens 17 subjects were arrested for suspicious of drug and firearms related offenses. One suspect named Gabriel Urtiz is still outstanding. The operation Crystal Lens resulted in the Seizure of approximately 475 lbs 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. Currently in excess of $950,000, 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. The law enforcement agencies that make up the WestNet are bold and identified with an asterisk. The other agencies listed below assisted in other key components of the investigation of suspects and evidence.
- 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*
- Antioch Police Department
- Berkeley Police Department
- California Highway Patrol
- Contra Costa Animal Services Department
- Contra Costa County Child Protective Services (CPS)
- Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office & investigations Unit
- Drug Enforcement Administration
- Fairfield Police Department
- Fresno Narcotic Enforcement Team
- Madera County Narcotic Enforcement Team
- Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force
- Napa County Narcotic Enforcement Task Force
- Office of Correctional Safety, Special Services Unit
- San Francisco Police Department
- Santa Clara County Enforcement Team (SCCET)
- Solano County District Attorney’s Office
- Southern Alameda County Narcotic Enforcement Team (SACNET)
- Unified Narcotic Enforcement Team (UNET)
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security (HIS)
- U.S. Marshals Service
- U.S. Secret Service
- Vacaville Police Department
- Yolo County Narcotic Enforcement Team (YONET)
File photo used