Authorities in California lost roughly $200,000 worth of narcotics earlier this month during a failed sting operation aimed at identifying and arresting major drug dealers in the area.
According to reports, the incident occurred at about 4 p.m. on April 19 when undercover officers with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office narcotics division arranged a meeting with a suspect. At one point during the sting, the suspected drug trafficker fled the scene with about 60 pounds of methamphetamine supplied by the agency.
“During the operation, undercover deputies met with a suspect who wanted to purchase 27 kilos of methamphetamine,” a sheriff’s office statement explained. “After the transaction, the suspect drove away and deputies from the Gang Task Force attempted a vehicle stop.”
Riverside County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Investigation https://t.co/r0Zly4T0z0
— Riverside County Sheriff (@RSO) April 21, 2023
After being unable to prevent the suspect from driving away, authorities reportedly engaged in a pursuit that ultimately failed to result in an apprehension.
“Due to the high speeds and suspect’s disregard for public safety, deputies lost sight of the vehicle,” the press release concluded.
It was unclear from initial reports whether authorities knew the identity of the suspect. The sheriff’s office statement included a call for anyone with information related to the incident to contact the agency.
Riverside County, which is near the U.S.-Mexico border as well as the major cities of Los Angeles and San Diego, has long been among the nation’s most notorious regions for drug trafficking. Last year alone, authorities in the county seized about 12,000 pounds of meth and roughly 6 million fentanyl pills.
The region is also a prime spot for federal law enforcement to seize drugs. According to U.S. Border Patrol figures, more than half of the 75,600 pounds of meth recovered during the first half of fiscal year 2023 were seized by officials with the agency’s San Diego field office.
Although drugs are often trafficked into the area from Mexico, much of the methamphetamine found across Southern California is manufactured in labs on this side of the border. The sheer quantity of illicit drugs across Riverside and neighboring San Bernardino counties have earned them the collective title of “methamphetamine capital of the United States.”