What does a ton of meth look like? DEA makes ‘staggering’ drug bust in Denton County

The Drug Enforcement Administration announced the largest methamphetamine bust in North Texas this week, a haul worth about $45 million on the street.

The bust occurred on Oct. 8 in Denton County. A semi-trailer truck was pulled over on I-35. The DEA has made arrests but did not disclose names because the investigation is ongoing and more arrests are expected.

“It’s a staggering amount to be seized at one time,” Special Agent Eduardo Chavez told WFAA/Ch. 8. “They were like sausage links.”

Chavez, who is running the investigation for the DEA’s Dallas office, said the Jalisco New Generation Cartel is behind the trafficking. The cartel is run by Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, who is known as “El Mencho,” or “The Dog.”

“That’s a big dent regardless of total volume they may try to do,” Chavez told the Denton Record-Chronicle “The Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación is one of the most powerful and ruthless drug traffickers running in Mexico right now. [El Mencho] is one of our most wanted. This seizure hurts his bottom line, so we’re happy to be able to do that, and this is one step further toward identifying networks leading back to him [to hold] him and his conspirators accountable.”

More than 1,900 pounds of meth in about 663 packages were found hidden beneath the flooring in the cargo space of the 18-wheeler.

The DEA did not disclose where in Denton County the bust occurred and do not know where the truck was headed. The DEA’s Dallas Division covers a region that includes the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Tyler, Lubbock and Oklahoma.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced cartels to make riskier smuggling operations, Chavez said. Stay-at-home orders in Texas have left fewer cars on the road, especially during peak times of the pandemic. Instead of using passenger cars to make the trip from the border to Dallas, they have compiled shipments “hoping the one truck would get through unnoticed versus 10 passenger cars with smaller amounts,” he said.

The reduced smuggling operations during the pandemic have also increased the street value of meth. Before the coronavirus, Chavez said, about 2.2 pounds of meth went for about $4,000. By June, that value had ballooned to about $15,000. According to the DEA, the price of about 2.2 pounds of meth now is valued at between $9,000 and $11,000.