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DEA’s Violent Crime Operation Leads to 1,500+ Arrests

DEA evidence from Project Safeguard. Photo via DEA.

By Steve Neavling

A DEA operation to combat violent crime has netted more than 1,500 arrests and seized 2,135 firearms since it was launched in August, the agency announced Tuesday. 

The initiative, nicknamed Project Safeguard, also seized 162 nearly $24 million in assets and more than 6,100 kilograms of illicit drugs, including 158 kilograms of fentanyl.  

The operation comes at a time when violent crime is increasing in many cities. 

“Drug trafficking and violent crime are inextricably linked,” DEA Acting Administrator Timothy J. Shea said in a statement. “From the extreme levels of violence in Mexican cartels, to the open air drug markets in American cities, drug traffickers employ violence, fear, and intimidation to ply their trade.  Neighborhoods across our country are terrorized by violent drug trafficking organizations that have little regard for human life, and profit from the pain and suffering of our people. Along with our law enforcement partners, DEA is committed to safeguarding the health and safety of our communities.”

Assisting the DEA in Project Safeguard are federal, state and local agencies, including the ATF and the U.S. Marshals Service. The project has three priorities: Target violent drug trafficking organizations, prosecuting firearms traffickers, and capturing violent fugitives.

“For decades, New York has been a major distribution point for drug traffickers with drug-related crime following in its footsteps,” DEA Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan, New York Division said. “With rising crime rates, DEA has reinforced investigations into local drug gangs and networks that threaten public safety and instill fear in our neighborhoods while continuing to identify and investigate major drug trafficking organizations responsible for supplying illicit drugs to New York.” 


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