FPD arrests 18 in months-long meth bust

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- 18 people are now locked up as Fresno police take down a massive drug trafficking ring over the past three months.

Undercover officers, working with informants, met several drug dealers in March, which sparked the operation. This is a significant bust for the department. They say the takedown includes illegal weapons and dangerous drug cartel members from Mexico.

Fresno police say there's no telling exactly how many drugs are on the streets or being moved across Valley highways right now. But they know at least 53 pounds of meth are locked up in evidence. The illegal drugs were taken in a major 3-month-long bust by the department's narcotics unit.

"Instead of taking them all down at one time they piecemealed it, took a little here, a little there, got several pounds at a time," said Fresno Police Lt. Joe Gomez.

The arrests took place slowly since March. "Most of them from this area," Gomez said. "There were a few from Mexico."

Investigators say an undercover officer met a drug dealer who boasted about his connections.

"They met somebody who was a dealer and claimed he could get pounds and pounds from Mexico," said Gomez. "He had a connection to Mexico."

Lt. Gomez says taking all of the meth off the streets will have a big impact. Right now the city is seeing a 32-percent increase in commercial robberies. Some of that police say is connected to meth addicts.

"It really impacts crime, all types of crime in Fresno," added Gomez.

Narcotics officers not only hit the streets undercover, but hey relied on informants to pick apart this drug trafficking ring from the inside out.

As the meth began moving from the dealer's hands to police evidence the cartel caught on and sent armed people from Mexico here to Fresno neighborhoods to keep an eye on the drugs as they were moved.

In addition to the packaged meth being seized police also recovered several illegal guns. Police are not revealing where many of these takedowns happened to protect the informants and officers involved.

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