SAN DIEGO — At least 63 people were in jail or rehabilitation facilities Thursday after law enforcement officers and health care professionals from 20 agencies fanned out across Southeastern San Diego and East County in search of drug offenders and those wanted for other crimes.
The 13th “Operation Tip the Scale,” led Wednesday by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, included more than 200 law enforcement officers from local, state and federal agencies, along with probation and treatment professionals, authorities said.
The operation featured patrols, drug sweeps, arrests and drug treatment outreach services, according to the San Diego County Methamphetamine Strike Force, one of the agencies participating in the event.
Authorities said Tip the Scale was designed to benefit those in need of treatment and families and communities affected by drug-related crime, including by steering probationers into court-required substance abuse treatment programs.
Affected family members were also pointed toward support services, officials said.
Task Force spokesman Jeff Stinchcomb said more than 63 arrests were made, and 24 of those taken into custody agreed to undergo immediate drug counseling before being jailed.
“They still go to jail, but treatment is offered to help them get back into compliance with court orders,” Stinchcomb said, adding that one 21-year- old suspect was sent directly into a drug rehabilitation facility.
Tip the Scale has led to more than 17,000 law enforcement contacts, 425 arrests, 208 conversations about treatment and 636 information packets distributed in the last four years, authorities said.
“We know we can’t keep arresting them again and again and again,” Stinchcomb said of the operation’s counseling and treatment options. “We’ve got to somehow break the cycle of drug addiction and crime.”