Three people arrested in major methamphetamine bust

Search for stolen Palo Alto iPads leads to 750 pounds of methamphetamine in San Jose apartment

Three people believed to have ties to a Mexican drug-trafficking organization appeared in court Monday afternoon, March 5, to face charges in one of the largest methamphetamine seizures in U.S. history.

Palo Alto police detectives discovered the drugs -- 750 pounds of methamphetamine -- worth $34 million on the street, while investigating stolen iPads at a San Jose apartment Thursday, March 1.

Alberto Rodriguez, 28, Carlos Aguilar, 25 and Liliana Lopez, 24, all of San Jose, were ordered held on $2 million bail each by Superior Court Judge Jerome Nadler.

All are charged with conspiracy to transport a controlled substance, manufacturing a controlled substance, possession for sale of a controlled substance, child endangerment, quantity enhancements, and a gang enhancement, as the investigation is believed to be tied to a Mexican drug-trafficking organization, the Drug Enforcement Administration said.

The three appeared in red jail jumpsuits and stood quietly as Nadler announced their bail. They are scheduled to appear in court for arraignment on March 13 after being assigned attorneys.

Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams, San Jose Police Department Chief Chris Moore, Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen and Palo Alto Police Department Chief Dennis Burns announced the seizure Friday night, March 2.

Palo Alto police investigating a burglary tracked a stolen iPad through its GPS application and found it at an apartment located in the 4400 block of the Woods Drive in San Jose. Multiple items believed to be stolen from Palo Alto were recovered from the location, the agencies stated in a press release.

Police did not have a warrant to search the apartment for the iPad theft, but the apartment occupants gave police permission to enter, Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney David Tomkins said. Detectives conducted a preliminary search of the residence for the stolen property and observed a large quantity of methamphetamine. Detectives contacted the San Jose Police Department and Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office for assistance, who subsequently contacted the DEA San Jose Resident Office, according to the joint-agency announcement.

A state search warrant was obtained for the location. As law enforcement began to conduct an initial search of the residence they found what they believed was a methamphetamine conversion laboratory, where methamphetamine was being converted to an "ice" or crystal form. Ice methamphetamine has the appearance that is often described as that of broken glass or shattered ice and is ingested by smoking. A DEA Clandestine Laboratory Team responded to the location for processing.

Palo Alto police spokesman Lt. Zach Perron said the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) would handle all media inquiries due to the magnitude and complexity of the drug case, and the risk that disclosing information at this time would jeopardize the continuing investigation into the recovered Palo Alto items.

DEA spokesperson Special Agent Casey Rettig said the investigation is still in the preliminary stages. No charges have been filed so far in the Palo Alto burglary and iPad thefts, she said.

Tompkins said another press release could follow later this week. He said Palo Alto police investigators deserve commendations for their work in uncovering the drugs. Two of the officers were experienced in this type of case and knew what to look for, he said.

Rettig said, "A seizure of this magnitude is extremely rare."

Methamphetamine -- also called crank or speed -- is a potentially addictive drug that creates an intense euphoria or "rush" when snorted, smoked or injected, according to the National Institutes of Health.

It increases the release and blocks the re-uptake of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is involved in reward, motivation, the experience of pleasure, and motor function, the National Institutes of Health website stated.

There are no estimates of how much meth is on the streets, according to Rettig.

"Recently, in the DEA San Francisco Division we have seen an increase in methamphetamine seizures," Rettig said.

Tomkins said that District Attorney Jeff Rosen has estimated about 100 pounds of methamphetamine is seized in the county annually.

Nationally, 2,067 kilograms of methamphetamine were seized in 2010, according to the DEA. Those seizures have risen steadily since 1986, when 234.5 kilograms were seized.

California in 2011 had 92 methamphetamine lab incidents, which included labs, dump sites, chemicals and equipment. The number is down from 185 incidents in 2010 and 789 incidents in 2004, according to DEA statistics.

The states with the largest number of lab incidents in 2011 were: Missouri, with 2,058; Indiana, 1,354; Tennessee, 1,130; and Kentucky, with 1,084, according to the DEA.

The DEA stripped approximately $17.7 billion in revenue from drug-trafficking organizations involving multiple drug types from fiscal years 2005 through March 2011, according to its website.

Editor's note: This is an update from a previous story.


Posted by Way to go PAPD, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 2, 2012 at 11:16 pm

Way to go PAPD.

I suspect some folks are mighty cranky now since they are missing 34 Million Dollars worth of their drugs.

I can only hope the stolen IPAD's you were looking for came from some of the burglaries we have been the victim of lately. I feel sorry for anyone who had stuff stolen from their homes but if you got some of it back and took 34 Million dollars worth of their drugs in the process, that is just entirely too cool.

You guys are awesome!

Posted by Outis, a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 2, 2012 at 11:20 pm

These stolen iPads wouldn't happen to be the same ones reported in the Mercury News's police blotter of 16 February:

> Redwood city
> El Camino Real, 9:06 p.m. Monday Eight iPads were taken from a secured case.

would they?

Posted by Concerned, a resident of Community Center
on Mar 2, 2012 at 11:25 pm

Way to go PAPD...Thanks for the great work you do!

Posted by who?, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 2, 2012 at 11:55 pm

Who were the 3 people who were arrested? Their names and mug shots are public record after an arrest, right?

Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 3, 2012 at 12:00 am

The PAPD should spend their time solving and preventing crimes in Palo Alto not in San Jose.

We have no significant problem with meth in Palo Alto

Palo Altans who want to "increases the release and block the re-uptake of dopamine in their brain" just get a prescription for Alderall or any another ADD medication from their doctor.

Posted by Congrats!, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 3, 2012 at 12:42 am

Wow, did you miss the mark, Sharon. What are you smoking?

Thank you, Palo Alto Police for this great find!

Posted by Maya, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 3, 2012 at 8:14 am

Sharon, Please be more responsible when posting. Additionally, it is quite foolish to think that at a least a portion of the current 750 pounds of meth would not find it's way to Palo Alto, or prompt it's users to steal from Palo Alto residence in order to pay, trade etc., for acquisition. I am so very pleased to know that our cities departments can work together, support each other, and make gargantuan busts such as this one. PAPD have made multiple recent arrests in PALO ALTO related to the residential burglaries. Why don't you bake then some cookies and show your appreciation instead of writing posts that sounds like criticism.

Posted by The-Rest-Of-The-Story, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2012 at 8:58 am

This is indeed a feather in the cap of the Palo Alto police department. It is a testament to old-fashioned police work, aided by new-fashioned GPS technology.

However, there is much, much, more to this story that meets the eye.

What is yet to come is:

o) Why would a group that has access to $34M worth of Meth mess around with a few $500 iPads, that probably have a street value of $150 per iPad?

o) How did the odors/smell from the Meth Lab go unnoticed by neighbors.

o) Why was this much "product" be held, rather than "moved" into the distribution chain?

o) How extensive is the local distribution chain?

o) How many other "fish" will this investigation turn up?

o) How did the Palo Alto Police gain access to the dwelling unit? Did they have a warrant? Or were they invited into the dwelling by the occupants?

o) Were the three individuals "little fish" or "big fish" in this endeavor?

o) What kinds of cash assets can be located?

o) If there is an asset confiscation that results, which law enforcement unit will receive the proceeds?

This is going to be a big investigation, given the amount of Meth that was located. It will be interesting to see how much of the story is released to the public.

Posted by concerned citizen, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 3, 2012 at 9:18 am

Way to go PAPD, this is huge, finally some payback for these criminals that have been infesting our neighborhoods, and to Sharon: get a clue lady, this bust will result in more arrests, turn dealers on each other and hopefully dismantle which ever gang is pushing this poison in our part of the bay.

Posted by Phil, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 3, 2012 at 9:21 am

Sharon, it sounds like the police department was conducting follow-up investigation regarding computers that WERE stolen in Palo Alto. The drug seizure was discovered while in the midst of doing precisely what you're suggesting they do, solving Palo Alto theft and burglary cases, and hopefully returning the stolen property to their owners in Palo Alto. Wow, did you read the first paragraph of the news story? Do you really think that the investigation of crimes committed in Palo Alto is handled within the confines of our city borders? I also surmise from the story, judging that the department heads from the San Jose Police and DEA seem to be involved, that those agencies will most likely handle the bulk of this major drug investigation.

Congratulations to our police department. Another reminder that their task is much more complex and challenging than many of us might think.

Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 3, 2012 at 10:07 am

I believe that PA *DOES* have a meth problem. Have you seen the recent rach of burlaries and robberies? I have to wonder how many of them were committed by people with substance abuse issues. Though most of those guys probably did not live here, they committed their crimes here.

And there is NOTHING wrong with assisting plice in other areas solve their problems. I certainly hope and believe police in other areas will asist the PA police if an opprotunity arises. I would HATE to think that the bad guys are safe just because they stepped into a jurastiction where they have not yet committed a crime.

And taking 750 pounds of meth off the streets? That is ALWAYS agood thing, in any city, state, or country. That suff is evil in chemical form.

I cannot believe that there were only three people involved in 750 pounds of meth. I hope more of the involved are found and I would advocate removal from our society on a permenant basis.

Posted by JasonP, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 3, 2012 at 10:14 am

Wow! Sharon, you really did miss the mark! Your comments stand out more than the article itself.....

Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 3, 2012 at 10:24 am

The War on Drugs has been a complete failure, it is a waste of lives, time and money.

Illegal drugs mean a profit motive for gangs and fuel a vast violent underground economy.

Take away the profit motive by legalizing drugs and 95% of the problem with drugs disappears.

The 5% left is related to addiction and this should be treated as a public health problem.

Portugal decriminalized drugs years ago as a result drug use declined and the drug gangs disappeared.

PAPD should focus upon what we pay them to do

--serve and protect the residents of Palo Alto

Not wasting their time and our money in keystone cops operations with the DEA in San Jose.

Posted by MENA MENA ona braina, a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 3, 2012 at 10:25 am

Sharon: quick! respond and include MENA!!!

It's your only hope!

Posted by Everyone Ignore Sharon, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 3, 2012 at 10:36 am

Please ignore Sharon. She obviously missed the point that our police were following-up on thefts from here in town which is exactly what we want them to do, or she has larger issues with ther police. If you respond to her she will only continue. Were all losing sight of the point of the article.

To the PAPD. You guys Rock! I want to to chase the little ........ who are stealing our stuff to the end of the earth if you have to, to slow them down, and where possible lock them up.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Posted by Phil, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 3, 2012 at 10:50 am

You're absolutely right Everyone Ignore. Thank you for the reminder. Nothing but a delusional troll. Again, great job PAPD!

Posted by Bob, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2012 at 12:05 pm

> Detectives from the Palo Alto Police Department Investigative Services
> Division were following up on the recent theft of iPads. Their
> investigation led them to an apartment located on the 4400 block
> of the Woods Drive in San Jose.

One of the key points in this story, which seems to have been missed by the Weekly, is: How exactly did the Palo Alto Police end up in San Jose?" One article in another paper says that they "got a tip" .. Ok .. that's possible.. but tips do not all police officers to go into another jurisdiction. Usually, police needing to talk/arrest someone in another jurisdiction get a sworn officer from that district to attend them, as well as get a warrant to justify their actions.

No mention of San Jose police, or a warrant, or how they got inside the property. These are key issues that any defense attorney will be looking into.

As it stands, this whole thing is just a fluke.

As to whether Palo Alto has a Meth problem, maybe it's time for a surprise raid at the PAUSD, and a walk-though all of the Stanford student housing, to see what turns up.

Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 3, 2012 at 12:36 pm

WTG, PAPD!!! Three fewer thugs off of the streets cannot be a bad thing!

BTW, did they locate those stolen iPad devices?

Posted by Jose Hemeniz, a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 3, 2012 at 1:12 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Obviously, a resident of Professorville
on Mar 3, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Whoever the PAPD linked to the iPad thefts, whether an individual or individuals most likely gave them the information leading to this San Jose location. Perhaps the 2 women and 1 man from San Jose most recently arrested within Palo Alto city limits.

Posted by Ignore the fringe, a resident of Community Center
on Mar 3, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Ignore the fringe on here and they will go away. we can clean up the boards to a normal conversation about teh good and bad without a bunhc of stuff that is completely unrelated

Posted by Sara, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 3, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Thanks PAPD!!!

Posted by Ralphie Vallederes, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 3, 2012 at 5:51 pm

Yeah, but did you find the iPads?

Posted by silly, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 3, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Who cares about the ipads. 34 mil worth of Meth. one of the largest seizures in US history? I think that's a what the cops would call, "a good day." I would agree.

Posted by Ronnie, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 3, 2012 at 7:44 pm

Its terrible that the stuff even has a dollar value, its so horrible. Its really sad how people treat their bodies and ruin their lives. I definitely pray that anyone who does that stuff finds the courage to reach out and get help and that they are able to get the help they need.

Posted by GM Mama, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 3, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Thanks and congratulations to the Palo Alto Police Department. Well done!

Posted by State penn, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 3, 2012 at 8:21 pm

The "little fish" who originally stole the iPads and led to the meth names will never be released. The higher ups who own that 35M of product will do anything to off them. I know it is a different aspect of it, but those poor saps have such a high bounty on them. Their couple thousand dollar petty crime led a "don" to lose 35m. They will be in pc for the duration and then witness protection. If you release their names it is even worse as the middle management" so to speak of the ring will also want them to be no more. Although that does not matter their names Already have a hit on them without a doubt. I have seen awful things happen to people that cost someone $100 dollars. Their families are also targets. That is very real and sad.

35M loss, led them right to that product , there are some very rich and angry and vengeful people looking for those poor three people and the original iPad thieves. I wonder how they will even transport the poor saps. Meth sucks, but some people's best option they feel is to sell it. That drug leads to the division of economic classes in so many more ways than just dopers diggin through the garbage and listening to metal. There is an entire, complex economic system and this is not run by meth users, know that.

Poor idiots, why did Steve have to make the iPad so cool.

Posted by Alto Shrink, a resident of Professorville
on Mar 3, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Did the search warrant include meth in addition to the iPads?

Posted by Overpaid, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 3, 2012 at 9:54 pm

Cut all detectives and the papd's pay, they aren't doing anything anyway. Get a pound of flesh city council...(sarcasm)

I would like to see the people wanted to cut the cops pay do their job, imagine what could have happened if whatever drug ring wanted to get this dope back that night. Stay safe out there guys!

Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 3, 2012 at 10:48 pm

In 2011 almost 500,000 Americans died premature and very painful deaths from cigarette smoking--5 million Americans have died that way since 911.

Cigarettes are a legal drug--illegal drugs kill a couple of thousand Americans every year and that will be dramatically reduced when such drugs are legal.

The war on drugs has cost trillions of dollars and is a complete failure.

Keeping drugs illegal funds a vast underground violent gang economy.

Take away the huge profit motive and the gangs will be out of business.

Portugal solved its drug/gang problem by decriminalizing drugs.

We should do the same.

The meth confiscated in SJ will be replaced by even more supplies of meth from Mexico, N Korea, Eastern Europe etc in a few weeks.

Prohibition did not work with booze--in fact it created organized crime

Prohibition of drugs is even worse--30,000 murdered in Mexico in the last few years and the same gangs are now in Salinas and EPA.

Drug addiction is a public health problem and should be treated as such.

Posted by Remember don't egg her on, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 4, 2012 at 12:47 am

Forget about Sharon

PAPD did a great thing here.

They were following up on our thefts which is a great thing on any day. the fact that they dropped into 750 pounds or 34 Million dollars worth of drugs is just a completely wonderful bonus.

Keep up the great work and follow the scum who steal our stuff to the end of the planet if you have to.

PAPD are the best and they deserve our appreciation. Too bad they don't get any from the city management. But on a day Like today they don't need it. The world appreciates what they have done.

Posted by MoM by Gunn, a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 4, 2012 at 2:47 am

It always has been known...this bust would not have happened if a "snitch" was not involved. My guess is that a very young kid was involved and was talked into providing an address and names due to "gentle persuasion" by the Palo Alto detectives....Guess who is going to be hiding out? A very young and scared kid...(or kids.) All over a request for stealing and then trading ipads for drugs ( or so I think that was the motive...)

Also, guess what??? If Palo Alto botched the warrant, this whole case will end up getting dropped eventually!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, being meth was confiscated, what now?? It's not like when the Pot at Foothill Park was "found" and destroyed..that booty could have been put up for sale at a legal dispensary and been a cash cow to the City to cover all the man hours, court proceedings, etc...Can not do that with meth....Yuucchhh. Worse street drug out there. Glad the operation was taken down, but as people in the above threads have noted, some heads will roll, the backlash is not going to be a pretty one I'm afraid.

Posted by Jim, a resident of Professorville
on Mar 4, 2012 at 3:48 am

Well done PAPD! Very few agencies would have followed up with a "simple" iPad theft- just comes to show that if officers are well trained, motivated, and professional, they can go above and beyond the call of duty.

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 4, 2012 at 5:55 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

34 million dollars? Approximately 33 million 500 thousand of that is artificially created by government scarcity. Eliminate the illegality and sell it in drugstores, and the problem resolves itself.

Posted by Sally, a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 4, 2012 at 9:07 am

Palo Alto does have a meth problem. We all do! It is very addictive and ruins the lives of the addict and their family. The addicts will lie and steal from the family and anyone else to get their drugs. I have two friends, Palo Alto women in their mid-forties, who have brothers, who are meth addicts. The women are upstanding citizens who own homes, work, raise kids and appear to be just like the rest of us. Only, their "secret" is that their brothers lives lay in ruins with addiction, jail time, lost jobs, costly attempts at rehabilitation, and broken families. It is a Palo Alto problem. Don't kid yourself if you happen to be lucky.

Posted by Keep up the Good Work, a resident of Community Center
on Mar 4, 2012 at 9:28 am

Thanks PAPD,

It's totally cool that you were out chasing down our burglars and got a huge bonus.

Please keep up the pressure on these theives.

As for the nucklehead above who cares about potentially botching the search for the meth, who cares. It's not like they are going to give it back. Thats what courts are for. They take years to decide on cases that unfold in minutes, hours, and days. The dope is gone. The safest place for these criminal is in jail, maybe. If they get out they are as good as dead, because someone is missing a lot of dope.

Keep up the good work.

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 4, 2012 at 11:57 am

Bob's right - according to other news sources, their discovery of the meth was a total fluke. They were chasing down ONE iPad, through its own tracking system. The people at the residence let the cops come in & the meth was eventually discovered. So because someone either in residence or connected to the residents stole an iPad, it blew this whole thing wide open. Since most of the product was ready to go, there wasn't a smell outside the apartment, although it was reported there was an odor inside. This bust isn't the result of intrepid police work, but the result of basic police work, plus a stupid thief & dumb luck.

It'll be interesting to see how this plays out, but most of us won't be privy to the whole domino effect at play right now...

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 4, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

The methheads get their doses anyway, so why bother. Let them get their jollies at 50 cents a whack and quietly die off. One methhead is in my family. Jail didn't work.

Posted by Bob, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 4, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Just in case you happen to think that "Meth" is no big deal, and another example of an over-reaching government action--

Web Link

Just where people are supposed to be introduced to the bio-chemistry, and physiology of "drugs" is not clear. Presumably the public schools provide some information, but to what level, and how effective is it?
Since the 1960s, there has been an assault on Americans, and particularly families, by syndicated drug cartels. Hollywood has aided and abetted this assault, through the lifestyles of the "rich and famous", as well as through its movie, and TV, products.
The current "war on drug" seems to be fought with more as a "rear guard" action, rather than bringing it into people's lives, and homes. By that, what is suggested is that videos of drug addicts undergoing rehab be made available to the public on public media distribution channels. Sadly, the public too often is subjected to Hollywood visions of "jack-booted police" depriving poor (and rich) kids of their "right to do drugs".

There are, from time-to-time, comments attributed to police/government sources that some level of "crime" can be attributed to "drug addicts" need to purchase drugs. Unfortunately, most police agencies tend to leave the public in the dark as to just how many crimes are committed, from their point-of-view, for drug money. So, all we are left with is a sense that there is a problem, but never under well-substantiated evidence of such problems.

Posted by Silly, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 4, 2012 at 4:00 pm

I heard a saying once: "The harder you work, the luckier you get...."

Case in point.

Posted by comment, a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 4, 2012 at 4:33 pm

i do give sharon credit for speaking out on legalization, but he/she should stick to voicing their opinion for natural products, not those made with horrible chemicals like meth sharon seems to be still shy of adolescence

i dont believe legalization solves meth the same way it does cannabis walter, there is a drug problem in europe because powerful pain pills are available without a prescription, they make a derivative 'krokodil' similar to meth but more powerful and easy to make because of the off the shelf pain pills

once a user starts on this, they have a 2 year life expectency and their skin becomes gangrenous, horrible stuff, even googling the word turns up ugly images that you dont want to see,

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 5, 2012 at 5:39 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Sorry, comment, but they get their meth anyway, but at such an inflated price they have to steal to pay for it. The scarcity makes the price, the price makes the market. You are right about the 2 year life expectancy, but the drug "war" is lost. Better USP stuff for a couple of bucks than back alley skank for whatever.

Posted by Neighbor, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 5, 2012 at 9:24 am

I'm wondering why thieves are stealing wired ( meaning internet connected) devices anyway - talk about leaving a trail they can't erase. I'm trying to figure out where crimefighters are in regards to exploiting that and where criminals are in figuring that out...

Sharon's commevnts do tend to be unconctructive, best to ignore.

Way to go PAPD! I'm most impressed to know how you are following up on recent burglaries!

Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 5, 2012 at 9:53 am

I am appalled that anyone would seriously advocate legalizing meth. I don't know what else to say, other than I lose respect for, and condemn, anyone would propose such a thing. It is not comparable to alcohol, cigarettes, pot, or any other drug. It is in a class by itself due to its addiction rate and damage to the user. Even trying it is an incredibly stupid thing to do, but we expect our young people to do a few stupid things before they learn better. But of all stupid mistakes one can make, trying meth is one of the worst, next to Russian Roulette. (Please note that Russian Roulette MIGHT leave you unscathed, meth never does.)

Anyone who would advocate legalizing something that so easily and readily destroys out kids needs a serious reality check.

Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 5, 2012 at 10:12 am

Ron Paul MD a US Senator and practicing MD for decades recommends the decriminalization of all drugs

-not because taking drugs is a good idea but because the War on Drugs has been a disastrous failure failure and has created a vast violent underground economy run by gangs.

If drugs were cheap and legal then there would be no profit motive for gangs.

Portugal decriminalized all drugs and has solved its drug/crime/violent gang problem.

BTW methamphetamine was used extensively by US, German , UK and Japanese troops in WW2 and by US and Australian troops in Vietnam--it was handed out by military MDs.

500,000 Americans die premature and painful deaths every year from cigarette smoking related diseases.

We do not criminalize cigarettes-- yet they are more addictive than heroin.

We should treat drugs as we do cigarettes-regulate-tax-set age limits etc

-- and treat them as a public health problem.

Posted by Andrea, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 5, 2012 at 10:41 am

Sharon are you on meth because this is awesome news and you missed the mark on this one.

Way to go PAPD! Awesome bust and thanks for all your hard work!!

Posted by GRA, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 5, 2012 at 10:58 am

Well I did take a look at Portugal's drug use after the change in their 2001 drug policy (From WikiPedia):
Lifetime use of illicit drugs increased from 7.8% to 12%, lifetime use of cannabis increased from 7.6% to 11.7%, cocaine from 0.9% to 1.9%, ecstasy from 0.7% to 1.3%, and heroin from 0.7% to 1.1%[13]

Need anything more be said?

Posted by Gethin, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 5, 2012 at 11:02 am

Congratulations to the PAPD.
Drugs of all kinds are pervasive in every community so a bust of this kind is good news for all of us. The fact that it came about from a lead of another sort in PA shows the positive results of good police work.

Posted by Southern Roots, a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 5, 2012 at 11:05 am

Good job PAPD.

Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 5, 2012 at 11:05 am

The only legal and commonly used recreational drug that does not seem to produce serious problems in society is caffine. The other legal recreational drugs (like alcohol and nicotine) are very harmful. Look at the damage they do. Do we really need to legalize more drugs that make these look like baby candy?

And to propose legalizing meth, of all the insane ideas, I cannot imagine why someone would advocate that. I would be much more inclined to propose capital punishment for anyone manuufacturing or distributing that stuff.

Posted by Sand Hill concerned, a resident of Stanford
on Mar 5, 2012 at 11:30 am

As with all investigations of this magnitude, the answers to all your questions will come in due time. The important thing is this junk is off the streets and out of the hands of our kids!
WAY TO GO PAPD!! Oakland could learn a thing or two!!!

Posted by Old Town Paly Resident, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 5, 2012 at 11:43 am

YESSSSSS! Steve Jobs legacy can be thanked for this one!!! thanks to the GPS on the iPad it led the police right to the front/back door!

Posted by Mountain Matt, a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 5, 2012 at 11:53 am

"Lifetime use of illicit drugs increased from 7.8% to 12%, lifetime use of cannabis increased from 7.6% to 11.7%, cocaine from 0.9% to 1.9%, ecstasy from 0.7% to 1.3%, and heroin from 0.7% to 1.1%[13]

Need anything more be said?"

No, you summed it up well

- they still use less drugs than us while we continue failed expensive policies of Prohibition.

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 5, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

33.5 million dollars value added by enforcement. And as those Portuguese stats, how did they determine the illegal quantities?
As for this 34 million dollar bust, think of it as a bonus for the other dealers.

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 5, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

By the way, your kid can still score crystal within 10 minutes of your house.

Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 5, 2012 at 12:29 pm

"By the way, your kid can still score crystal within 10 minutes of your house."

That is precisly why that pusher needs to be permenantly removed from society.

Posted by Mountain Matt, a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 5, 2012 at 12:50 pm

"That is precisly why that pusher needs to be permenantly removed from society."

Sure. Easy peasy. Works all the time, just take a look at history.

Look how well Prohibition did that with booze. And with the added benefit of essentially creating Organized Crime, which never really was organized in any meaningful way prior to the 1920's.

Ignore history. Full of useless liberal claptrap like facts and stuff.

Posted by Brian, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 5, 2012 at 12:59 pm

I'm curious what it was about this iPad that the PAPD was investigating so vigorously. Most of us who report stolen iPads or iPhones or other items of similar value (and I include myself in this group) never get any indication the police are interested in tracking down the perpetrators, even when there are clearly electronic means to locate the items.

Posted by randy albin, a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 5, 2012 at 1:36 pm

could there possibly be some societal indicator when people become methamphetamine addicts? maybe there is some socioeconomic cause or people aren't capable of coping with the stresses and strains that surround them and their lives?

Posted by Hulkamania, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 5, 2012 at 1:54 pm

The moral of this story is, if you own a MacBook/iPod/iPad/iPhone, turn on Find My iPhone. The police can track your device and you, in a small way, can be part of a huge bust.

Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 5, 2012 at 2:44 pm


There is no indicator for who is at risk for methamphetamine abuse. The scary thing is that unlike almost all other illegal drugs, it is 100% addictive on the very first use. There is no "try it", if you try it you are hooked, period, end of story, end of your life. It is very debilitating and very damaging to the user, physically and mentally. The idea that this stuff is being marketed to kids whose lives have not even really begun yet makes me retch. Mmthamphetamine is pure evil in a chemical form. Anyone who makes or distributes it is a monster preying on young and innocent lives for personal profit. Once they get you to "try it", they can sell you more because you HAVE to have it. Your life, and you and your parents hoped it would be, is lost. You are slaved to a chemical that is going to kill you slowly after taking everything you have. YOU become a monster that no one is safe around because you will steal from anyone to feed your addiction. There is no other drug that takes you down the path to a lost life as fast as meth. It is the most frightening drug out there.

Posted by Daryll, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 5, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Final question -- what happens to all the seized meth? That's a lot to flush down the toilet!

Posted by Mountain Matt, a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 5, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Just me:

Meth is bad, no doubt. Probably the worst. However, your fear mongering flies in the face of reality. Seriously, was it your uncle or your grandfather that wrote Reefer Madness? You're a chip off the old block!

"if you try it you are hooked, period, end of story, end of your life. " No hyperbole there, eh?

I guess the folks who've tried it and got off it are just a fantasy.

Not to mention all the pilots we gave meth and amphetamines to during various wars. Web Link

That said, I personally feel anyone selling ANY drugs to kids (including high school level young adults) should publicly have certain body parts slowly sliced off.

With a very dull rusty knife.

Other than protecting kids to the fullest extent, prohibition doesn't work, even with the fearmongering scare stories.

Posted by Ralph, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 5, 2012 at 3:57 pm

My brother died because of his meth addiction. Thank you to the men and women of the palo alto police department for their dedication and tenacity. They prevented more lives from being ruined by meth. Palo altans need to realize that our police department serve us well and need to take a few second of their lives to just say thank you when you see them patrolling our neighborhoods and keeping us safe. They deserve it.

Posted by litebug, a resident of another community
on Mar 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm

(former resident for 38 years)

Dear "Way to go PAPD".

You wrote: I suspect some folks are mighty cranky now since they are missing 34 Million Dollars worth of their drugs.

I beg to disagree. I think that those missing their meth are actually less cranky, in that they now have less crank. Did you mean that pun or was it accidental? At any rate, I got a chuckle out of it.

Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 5, 2012 at 5:06 pm

"Seriously, was it your uncle or your grandfather that wrote Reefer Madness? You're a chip off the old block!"

So.... like, what are YOU smoking. Must be good stuff man,...

"That said, I personally feel anyone selling ANY drugs to kids (including high school level young adults) should publicly have certain body parts slowly sliced off.

With a very dull rusty knife."

Now THAT's disgusting.

Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 5, 2012 at 6:29 pm

3 weeks ago 15 tons of pure meth were seized at a ranch outside Guadalajara.

It was about 13 million doses worth $4 billion — more than double the size of all meth seizures at the Mexican border in 2011.

""The big thing it shows is the sheer capacity that these superlabs have in Mexico," said Rusty Payne, a spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration.

"When we see one lab with the capability to produce such a mass tonnage of meth, it begs a question: What else is out there?"

Web Link

The capture in SJ was trivial compared with $ 4 billion worth.

The War on Drugs is a dramatic failure and just funds a global, violent organized crime system.

Portugal has shown that decriminalizing drugs reduces the health problems and drives out gangs -because of reduced profits.

Any adult can buy enough vodka for $7 to kill themselves if they drank it all in one go--that is rare because vodka is legal, regulated and buyers know the dosage

--500,000 Americans died from smoking every 12 months.

The War on Drugs has made the situation much, much worse

It is time for the Portugal Model.

Posted by meth, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 5, 2012 at 7:35 pm

We usually think of meth as a "red state" kind of problem. All of the top 5 meth states listed in the article are "red states". Are foreign gangs trying to take over? Or are they working with the traditional "red state" distributors? Are the foreign gangs selling to traditional "red state" drug users or are they trying to diversity to other demographics?

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 5, 2012 at 7:43 pm

meth, hwere have you been? Calif. has a big meth problem. Mexico is involved widely in the manufacturing & distribution. It's NOT just a red state problem - but perhaps it depends on how you define "problem."

Reading these comments reminds me of Winter's Bone, both the film & the book.

Posted by stretch, a resident of another community
on Mar 5, 2012 at 10:17 pm

Sharon, I think that repeating yourself over and over is a sign that something is seriously wrong. Perhaps you've gotten a head start on the drug use you seem to be pushing. What was that - Portugal decriminalized drugs? Where have I heard THAT before......

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 5, 2012 at 10:51 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

The only thing more foolish than decriminalizing drugs is criminalizing drugs.

Posted by The-Rest-Of-The-Story, a resident of Los Altos
on Mar 6, 2012 at 7:39 am

> worth $34M on the streets ..

Since most newspapers don't carry ads for recreational drugs, the street prices are probably known only to those who consume these drugs, and those in law enforcement that end up dealing with people who over-dose, or are involved in illegal activities to pay for their habits. The following web-site provides some target prices for "meth":

Web Link

According to this source, one kilogram can command $80,000. That comes to about $200K/pound, considerably less than the implied prices provided to the press by the Santa Clara County law enforcement involved in this "bust".

Anyone have any idea what this drug is going for at the current time?

Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 6, 2012 at 8:11 am

Just a rounding error. They converted 750 pounds to 340 kilograms and multiplied by $100,000.

(Revisit your kg to lb conversion.)

Posted by The-Rest-Of-The-Story, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2012 at 8:33 am

> multiplied by $100,000.

Thanks. Did get conversion backwards.

However, the question was: "does anyone know what the actual cost of 'Meth' on the streets of Santa Clara County might be" is still open. Is $100K a good number? $100K is close to $80K, so is that "close enough for government work?"

Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 6, 2012 at 9:41 am

According to the SJMN these 3 suspects are members of Mexican drug-trafficking gangs.

Very disturbing news--these drug gangs have murdered 30,000 people in Mexico in the last few years--30,000.

It would have been wise for the PAPD to have kept Palo Alto out of this story and left the case up to the DEA and FBI.

They have the manpower and fire power.

$35 million is a great deal of money by any standard and particularly by drug gang rules.

3 weeks ago the Mexican Army seized $4 billion worth of meth at one location which was heading across the border to the US.

Those orders of money by widespread corruption and violence.

If we do not put the gangs out of business by decriminalizing drugs then we will have to call in the US Military here and across the border with Mexico.

However--we have spent $1 trillion and 10 years in Afghanistan fighting terrorist gangs who funded by the heroin trade.

After we have spent 10 years and $1 trillion-- Afghanistan still supplies 95 % of the worlds illegal heroin and in larger quantities than it ever did under the Taliban.

Posted by visit portugal, a resident of another community
on Mar 6, 2012 at 10:41 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

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