Updated 08/16/2012 07:05 PM
Seven arrested in Operation Crystal Ball
A large amount of crystal methamphetamine is now off the street in the Twin Tiers. Law enforcement officials announced the arrests of seven people charged with bringing the substance into the region. Our Melissa Kakareka has more information.
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BROOME COUNTY, N.Y. -- Multiple law enforcement agencies gathered at the New York State Police barracks in Kirkwood Thursday as they announced the arrests of seven people charged with distributing crystal methamphetamine throughout the Southern Tier and Northern Pennsylvania. It's being called "Operation Crystal Ball."
"From New York State Police end, we began working with the Vestal Police and getting small information. It took us a while to really put the pieces together. We knew larger there, from there partnering with others because we found an axis between different investigations and the whole thing took off," said Lt. Patrick Garey, NYSP Community Narcotics Enforcement Team.
Investigators say the meth was trafficked into the country from Mexican cartels and made its way to Georgia, where ringleader Donivan Pittman is from.
Police say about two to four pounds of the meth was driven into the Twin Tiers every three weeks. Police executed search warrants at five homes in Broome and Susquehanna counties and found 45 weapons, a pound and a half of crystal meth and $30,000.
"This investigation extends beyond the Southern Tier, it just ends here, but it goes from Mexico to Atlanta to here," said John Duncan, Executive Assistant to the U.S. Attorney.
Police say crystal meth has been a problem in the region for about 10 years. They say these arrests will be a significant step toward solving the problem in the community.
"It means a tremendous amount off the streets, a tremendous amount coming through, especially in the past six to eight months, through this group," said Garey.
All seven of those arrested are currently in custody and are charged with federal drug trafficking crimes.