July 17, 2018
Contact: SA John Leonard
Phone Number: 314-538-4600
New boss for DEA’s St. Louis Division says astronomical increases in seizures of fentanyl, heroin, and methamphetamine a top priority
ST. LOUIS - William J. Callahan, III was appointed Special Agent-in-Charge (SAC) of the DEA St. Louis Division and reported for duty on July 10, 2018. SAC Callahan is already hard at work finding innovative ways to tackle the drug and gang related violence that has been plaguing Missouri, Kansas and Southern Illinois. SAC Callahan promises to bring change, but says the Division’s unrelenting enforcement of illicit and diverted drugs, battling violent drug gangs within neighborhoods, and having a major emphasis on the national opioid epidemic facing the country will not waiver.
“Our communities need our help,” SAC Callahan said. “Whether it’s dealing with drug and gang violence in the inner cities of Kansas City or St. Louis, transnational drug organizations traveling through the Midwest, drug cartels establishing distribution points in Wichita and Springfield, or dealing with both illicit and pharmaceutical grade controlled substances within our areas, we will make an impact.”
SAC Callahan comes to the St. Louis Division after spending a majority of his career in the DEA New York City office where he investigated some of the world’s most notorious drug traffickers and money launderers. SAC Callahan is all too familiar with illicit drugs, as well as the opioid and prescription drug abuse that damages and destroys families and communities. “Drugs, the related violence, and the impact on the health care community effects families and neighborhoods across socio-economic, racial, and ethnic boundaries,” SAC Callahan said. “All you have to do is look within our area…drug-related gang violence in the Midwest is rising at an alarming rate. Drug traffickers are becoming more brazen. That is the reality we are faced with, and one in which we will do all within our power to control and return those communities back to its citizens.”
SAC Callahan inherits a division that is currently battling astronomical increases in seizures of methamphetamine, heroin, and fentanyl. “The Midwest is not immune to the drugs and opioid epidemic sweeping the country,” said SAC Callahan. “This Division recorded more than a 1,600 percent increase in fentanyl seizures from 2016 to 2017. That is alarming enough, but taken with the increase of drug-related violence, we have to be innovative. Not only will we continue to go after the most violent and prolific drug traffickers impacting our region, we will also partner with business, community and faith-based groups to deliver demand reduction awareness, education, addiction and recovery resources. If we only concentrate on one aspect of drug trafficking, be it enforcement, use, abuse, addiction, or recovery, we can’t expect the cycle of abuse to truly be broken.
SAC Callahan went on to say, “We know it is our job to get drug dealers and violent offenders off the streets, but this fight is much bigger than law enforcement: we need our communities help to reduce the demand for these drugs as well.”
Aside from continuing unrelenting enforcement of federal and state drug laws, SAC Callahan’s top priorities include: increasing and maintaining significant partnerships with people and organizations committed to building safer communities; creating awareness of the opioid crisis, which has been deemed a national public health emergency; and championing compassion for those affected by drug addiction.
The Midwest is on par with the national average regarding the increase in drug abuse. “When you are now more likely to die of a drug overdose than as a result of a car accident, we have to do something,” SAC Callahan said. “DEA and our law enforcement partners are committed to doing all we can to protect our neighborhoods and communities.” SAC Callahan further stated he is honored and humbled to lead such an extraordinary group of men and women who make up the St. Louis Division including DEA Special Agents, deputized Task Force Officers from state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the region, and support staff, all of whom are all committed to delivering justice to those who seek to cause harm among our family, friends, and neighbors, while saving lives of those who have fallen victim to drug addiction.
SAC Callahan encourages everyone to get involved, whether it is by participating in the bi-annual DEA Prescription Take Back Days; volunteering with community outreach programs; or by simply talking to kids about the dangers of drugs. “DEA will continue to arrest the worst of the worst: the drug traffickers in our communities,” SAC Callahan said. “Those arrests, partnered with increased community outreach and educational opportunities will make a difference. It has to be all hands on deck. With the lethality of these drugs, we cannot afford to wait. We need to act, and the time is now.”
To find out more information regarding drugs of abuse visit: www.dea.gov