The war on drugs is a fight that police and drug enforcement officials have been fighting for decades. Because there is so much drug activity going on all the time, it is difficult for the police to get the drug dealers and the drug traffickers off the street. There are some cases, however, when the police get leads and are able to set up stings and make arrests. Below is a list of the largest drug seizures in U.S. history based on the cash amount.
1. San Francisco $4 Billion in Cash and Drugs
In 1991, officials in San Francisco seized so much heroin that they would have been able to give every resident of the city two doses of the drug. The strain of heroin was called, “China White< and it was being transported to a warehouse in a suburb of San Francisco. The DEA seized over $4 billion in drugs and close to $1 billion in cash. They also seized the bank accounts of everyone involved in the crime.
2. California Billion Dollar Bust
In 1989, the Los Angeles Police Department and the DEA worked together to make what was at the time, the second biggest drug bust in United States history. A year’s long investigation found cocaine hidden in the concrete fence posts located inside of a secret warehouse. The posts were inserted into metal tubes, which also contained cocaine. In all, the police seized a total of over 13 pounds of cocaine, which was worth billions of dollars. They also recovered millions of dollars in cash. Those who were arrested in the bust were all sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
3. Meth Raid in Mexico
In March 2007, the United States authorities and the Mexican authorities worked together to set up a drug bust in Mexico City. The authorities seized over $200 million U.S. dollars. The drug being sold to earn all this money was methamphetamine. The investigation began in 2006 when the American police seized over 20 tons of pseudoephedrine, which is a cold medicine used to cook meth. The year-long investigation led the police to Mexico, where several people were arrested, and two were from China. Getting the money, drugs, cooks, and dealers off the streets was a huge accomplishment for both the United States and Mexico.
4. Miami-Dade Drug Bust
In June 2016, The Miami-Dade police made the largest cash seizure in history. According to police, the discovery was something out of the movie, Scarface. The investigators found $20 million in cash stuffed into 5-gallon paint buckets. The buckets were hidden behind a false wall that led to a secret room of the suspect’s home. According to police, a confidential informant told them that the suspect was involved in an indoor marijuana growing operation. When the police searched the suspect’s home, the found the cash hidden in the buckets.
5. Contra Costa Drug Task Force in California
This drug bust was considered the largest ever in the state of California. The investigation took over two years. During this time, leads were tracked from snitches and officers who were working undercover. The investigation ended in January 2014, and the policed seized over $18 million in cash. The raid also uncovered 160 grams of cocaine and 500 pounds of methamphetamine. During the raid and throughout the entire investigation, dozens of deals, traffickers, and meth cooks were arrested. This drug bust was huge for California’s war on drugs.
6. Cash Seizure in Baldwin, Alabama
In September 2013, a semi truck was traveling on I-65 when the driver was pulled over for a routine vehicle inspection. When the police searched the truck, they found three bags containing over $1.5 million in cash. When questioned, the driver claimed that he did not know that there was money in the cab and he denied knowing how it got there. Since the driver agreed quickly to the search, investigators did not know whether or not he was telling the truth. The investigation didn’t lead anywhere, however, it was the largest cash seizure in the history of the State of Alabama.
7. Atlanta Drug Bust
In May 2012, the city of Atlanta managed to pull off its largest heroin bust in history. The investigation began when police seized over $4 million in cash in heroin in a town near Atlanta. That raid led them to the major supplier in Atlanta. During the bust, the DEA seized 80 pounds of heroin, which worth over $6 million. At another location close to the location of the first bust, $2 million was seized. In the end, there were three men who were arrested and charged with a federal crime. Two of the men pled guilty and the other took his case to trial where he was eventually found guilty of all charges.
8. The Edmonton Drug Bust
In March 2014, the authorities in Edmonton and the DEA pulled off the biggest drug bust and seizure of cash in the history of the city. On March 21, the authorities coordinated six drug raids to occur simultaneously. Of the six drug busts, the biggest had $800,000 seized. During all six raids, there were 12 arrests made. The police had a press conference regarding the bust, and they stated that they were going to use the money to help victims of violent crimes.
9. Major Rhode Island Cash Seizure
Rhode Island may be the smallest state in the U.S., but that doesn’t mean that its streets are free from drugs. In a North Situate, Rhode Island, an investigation was launched against suspected drug traffickers in Rhode Island and nearby Connecticut. In the end of the investigation, several arrests were made. Also, police seized over 4 dozen pounds of marijuana and over $300,000 in cash.
Drugs are an ongoing problem, not only in the United States but all over the world. A great amount of the drugs that are sold and used in the United States are coming in from other countries. There are other drugs, like meth and marijuana, that are produced right here in the U.S. While the police and the DEA work tirelessly to get all of the drugs off the streets, there will always be another dealer, trafficker, or manufacturer out there waiting to take over after an arrest.