Public Safety

14 Arrested in East County Operation

Law enforcement officers prepare for the Tip the Scale Operation.

Update: The number of arrests has been revised. In the original version, two groups of numbers were mistakenly added together.

Fourteen people were arrested Tuesday evening by law enforcement agencies from East County during saturation patrols and probation compliance checks in known hot spots for drug-related crime.

The patrols, known as Tip the Scale Operation, this time combed through the cities of El Cajon and La Mesa and parts of unincorporated East County.

In total, 14 people were arrested—two on felony charges, nine on misdemeanors and three on other violations. Of the nine misdemeanors, seven had warrants for their arrest.

Teams from the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, Probation Department, El Cajon and La Mesa Police Departments were joined by social workers from the Drug Endangered Children group of County Child Welfare Services, who were on scene as a resource to law enforcement teams, as well as addiction and recovery counselors.

At the command post, drug counselors had brief conversations with offenders about how their drug problems were negatively affecting their lives and stressed the importance of getting into drug treatment for better health, and to prevent future drug-related legal problems.

Non-violent offenders who test positive for drugs and who express a sincere willingness to try again can be taken straight to a residential treatment program instead of jail.

Twelve people agreed to speak with treatment counselors and three were sent directly to treatment.

“Drug cartels are flooding our communities with cheap, powerful meth and fentanyl. Tip the Scale gives eligible drug offenders, the addicted, chronic law breakers, a chance to break this plague,” said Chief Jeff Davis of the El Cajon Police Department.

One in four inmates in local jails across the country admit to committing their crimes to obtain money for drugs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. With this in mind, Tip the Scale is intended to identify and serve people in need of treatment, as well as families and communities who are adversely affected by drug-related crimes.

“The goal of Tip the Scale is to make sure offenders on probation are in compliance with their court orders, but also to steer drug offenders toward drug treatment resources,” said Division Chief Jason Druxman of the San Diego County Probation Department. “As always, drug treatment counselors are on hand during Tip the Scale, talking with offenders about their drug problems and how they might get their lives back on track.”

Tip the Scale is one of many efforts established to address persistent problems in the region. Among them:

  • Deaths linked to meth are at a record high in San Diego County. A meth related death now occurs every 23-hours.
  • Half of adults arrested test positive for methamphetamine, an all-time high since SANDAG began tracking this data more than two decades ago.
  • 60 percent of all U.S. meth seizures by federal agents happen in San Diego County.

Since 2009, Tip the Scale has led to more than 28,000 law enforcement contacts, 630 arrests, 360 treatment conversations. Also, at every operation, resource information packets were given to individuals and family members in need of assistance.

Residents throughout the county are urged to report meth-related crimes or seek information about treatment options by calling 1-877-NO-2-METH (1-877-662-6384) or by going online to


José A. Álvarez is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact