A special task force executed a number of search warrants as a part of a 5-month long investigation targeting known methamphetamine traffickers operating around New Braunfels, Canyon Lake, and Comal County areas, according to the New Braunfels Police Department.
"This is what the people have been asking for," said Comal County Sheriff, Mark Reynolds. "Most of you in the room may have heard of 'Take Back Canyon Lake', well we want to take back the whole county."
Known as "Operation: Crystal Lake," the investigation was executed by a combined special task force consisting of members of the D.E.A., the Comal County Metro Narcotics Task Force, The New Braunfels Police Department, the Comal County Sheriff's Office, the New Braunfels/Comal County G.O.N.E. (Gang Offender Narcotics Enforcement) Unit, the Guadalupe County Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Marshals - Lone Star Fugitive Task Force.
"Operation: Crystal Lake" included the execution of search warrants Wednesday morning, yielding a total of 1.5 pounds of methamphetamine, approximately one pound of cocaine, over 40 grams of heroin, approximately $5000 in cash, eight firearms (including 2 recovered stolen), and three vehicles (including one recovered stolen).
"With one gram of methamphetamine, that's 5 to 6 potential hits. So if you start to do the math, you can multiply. In a community our size, 11 pounds of meth is huge," said Comal County Criminal District Attorney, Jennifer Tharp.
According to NBPD, during the initial phase of the investigation, a total of 24 arrests were made, leading to 19 indictments handed down by a State Grand Jury, and an additional four arrest warrants.
"As far as them operating as one group, they certainly knew each other," said Reynolds. "When they were watching each other being put in the van yesterday, they kept looking at each other like, 'Oh they got you, too'."
The 38 defendants who were served with arrest warrants and brought into custody face a total of 44 felony drug and weapons charges, according to NBPD.
"There were some individuals that we did see linked to some Mexican trafficking organizations," said Dante Sorianello, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the San Antonio Office of the DEA. "Most, if not all the methamphetamine, was coming from south of the border."
While the task force didn't stop meth trafficking in Comal County, it did cause a serious dent in criminal operations.
"We're still on you," said Reynolds to traffickers. "We said we were gonna make some noise. We showed that we are and we will not stop. We will be relentless in our pursuit and we will get you."
Tharp says she anticipates more indictments in the near future.
If the 38 defendants are convicted, their punishments range from 2 years up to life in prison.