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Last year, the DA’s Narcotics Division continued its extraordinary cooperation with other law enforcement agencies to prosecute illegal drug-related offenses. Led by Division Chief Tom Manning and Assistant Chief Steve Walter, notable prosecutions during the year included:
Operation November Reign
Operation November Reign began on November 1, 2013 and went through December 20, 1013. During this period, San Diego Police Department officers worked in the East Village area of downtown San Diego to purchase street quantities of methamphetamine, rock cocaine, and heroin. The drug dealers were subsequently identified through investigative methods. In April and May of 2014, 74 separate defendants (five individuals were indicted in multiple cases) were indicted in 52 cases by a San Diego Superior Court grand jury. Approximately one third of the defendants had prior strike convictions which warranted state prison commitments, the vast majority of defendants were sent to local prison, and a small number received probation. This operation was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney’s Michael McCann, Hung Bach, Rori Robinson, Allison Fomon, and Jorge Del Portillo.
Operation High Grade
Operation High Grade began in early 2014 when law enforcement officers identified several methamphetamine dealers in the county who operated in the Ramona area. DEA Agents in conjunction with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department sought the assistance of District Attorney’s Office to obtain search warrants for the major players involved in the ring. With the help of Deputy District Attorney Deborah La Touche, the court authorized search warrants for several residences and the operation was a success. The operation was concluded in mid-October. During the course of the investigation, operatives conducted several “buy-walk” operations and made 29 arrests. Twenty ounces of methamphetamine, five grams of heroin, marijuana and prescription pills were seized in the operation. Additionally, agents recovered a stolen firearm and OC spray. The prosecutions were handled by Deputy District Attorney Deborah La Touche.
The division continues to direct San Diego County’s JUDGE Program (Jurisdictions United for Drug and Gang Enforcement). The program consists of federal, state, and local law enforcement officers who target high-risk felons. In addition, the Narcotics Division handles federal and state asset forfeiture matters, and assists law enforcement with proactive projects in specific high-crime areas.