- Associated Press - Thursday, February 6, 2014

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Forty-five people have been charged with gun and methamphetamine trafficking after a yearlong investigation that targeted Asian street gangs that federal prosecutors say is a reflection of the increasing amounts of the drug coming from giant labs in Mexico.

U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said Thursday her office prosecuted 910 methamphetamine cases in the 2013 fiscal year - more than six times the number of cases in 2008. She vowed to intensify efforts to crack down on trafficking of the drug.

“We simply have to do a better job on getting a handle on the methamphetamine problem that we are facing,” she said at a news conference to announce results of the yearlong investigation that targeted Asian street gangs. gotta

The increased prosecutions coincide with a huge jump in methamphetamine seizures at California border crossings with Mexico. More than 12,000 pounds of the drug were seized at California crossings in the 2013 fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. That’s nearly twice the amount seized two years earlier.

The arrests took place over three days and targeted six street gangs, five of them Asian, Duffy said. Forty defendants were in custody Thursday morning.

Nine complaints and a search warrant unsealed this week describe how methamphetamine was sold throughout San Diego and, in some cases, other states and regions like Hawaii, central California and Minnesota. The alleged transactions include a purchase at a San Diego library parking lot in July 2013, a $5,000 sale at a casino parking lot in September 2013 and a $2,000 purchase at a Home Depot parking lot.

Methamphetamine production shifted to Mexico after a U.S. crackdown on domestic labs. The Sinaloa cartel’s new hold on the prized Tijuana-San Diego smuggling corridor has resulted in many of the drugs going to the San Ysidro border crossing, the Western hemisphere’s busiest port of entry with an average of 40,000 cars and 25,000 pedestrians entering daily.

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