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Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan at the podium explaining the resurgence of crystal meth in southeastern Pa. Standing behind from left to right are: Laura Hendrick, Drug Enforcement Administration; Chief Sam Iacono, Oxford Police Department, Chief Gerald Simpson, Southern Chester County Regional Police Department and Michelle Barone, Asst. District Attorney

Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan hosted a press conference Wednesday morning at the Chester County Justice Center to announce a medium-sized drug bust with bigger implications for the region. Hogan said that the big problem is that crystal meth has come “storming back into southeastern Pennsylvania” and that the drug is “potent, powerful and cheap.” The last time the drug was popular in the region was in the early 2000s, but Hogan and Drug Enforcement Administration representative Laura Hendrick said that the Mexican cartels are “flooding the market” with the cheap product so as to addict users and ultimately raise the price at a later point. Hendrick and Hogan said that while opioid usage is still the primary problem in the region, the impacts of crystal meth trafficking on law enforcement is great because the drug causes users to be violent and aggressive. The impact of the drug on users is also, they say, debilitating and a “slow killer.” A Mexican national here illegally, Ruben Vargas-Santillan, a.k.a. Juan Vargas/Juan Santillan, was the source of that drug bust. Authorities say they used an informant to buy cocaine and crystal meth (sometimes referred to as ice) from Vargas-Santillan in New Garden Township. Hogan said that the meth differs in both quality and price from what was present in the early 2000s, with today’s product being pure at a much price. He said that street-level dealers are also likely users of the drug.