CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - On Monday, July 8, the Combined Anti-drug Team (CAT) served 11 search warrants and made 18 arrests for a large crystal methamphetamine distribution ring in the Vinton/Starks area.
Authorities discovered three active meth labs, a few of which authorities believe were operated by illegal residents from Mexico or Cuba. Most of the suspects involved have ties to the horse racing industry.
Lake Charles Police Chief Don Dixon said investigators believe a large amount of steroids for horses were found. Those allegations will be turned over to the racing commission.
The investigation, called Operation Havana Speed, was the result of a huge influx of crystal meth in Southwest Louisiana, and it is still ongoing, even though it began more than a year and a half ago.
"It's become a problem drug in this area, and we didn't only want to do the little local buys, we wanted to find where these drugs were coming from. We wanted to smash the distribution ring," Dixon said.
Many agencies were involved with Operation Havana Speed, including the Lake Charles Police Department, the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office, the Louisiana State Police, the FBI, Homeland Security investigations, U.S. Border Patrol, the Sulphur Police Department, the Vinton Police Department and the U.S. Marshall Service.
"In terms of law enforcement, for us is a home run. It wasn't a single, double, or triple. This was a home run. We really smashed the ring and that's a good feeling for us. That's what we get paid to do," Dixon said.
The investigation is ongoing, and CAT anticipates further arrests.