DEA Announces Launch of Project Safeguard
Operation intensifies DEA’s efforts to combat drug-related violent crime
MIAMI – Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Acting Administrator Timothy J. Shea today announced that the DEA will direct resources to help reduce violent crime in communities throughout the country. Under this initiative, called Project Safeguard, DEA will identify and prioritize ongoing drug trafficking investigations with a nexus to violent crime.
“Drug trafficking and violent crime are inextricably linked,” said Acting Administrator Shea. “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.”
“Illegal drug trafficking is inherently a violent trade that attracts the worst of the worst.” said DEA Miami Field Division’s Acting Special Agent in Charge Keith Weis. “While conducting counter narcotics operations, DEA, along with its local, state and federal counterparts, continually encounter individuals with criminal histories. These criminal histories have included homicides, weapons trafficking, assaults, armed robberies, assaults on law enforcement, and drug trafficking resulting in death by dangerous substances, such as fentanyl. Under this initiative, we will tirelessly work side by side with our partners to identify and remove those individuals that pose a grave risk to the security and well-being of our communities.”
Working in collaboration with our federal, state, and local partners, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the U.S. Marshals Service, DEA’s Project Safeguard will comprise three focus areas to address the growing violent crime threat in many cities across the United States:
- Disrupting, dismantling, and destroying the most significant violent drug trafficking organizations throughout the United States;
- Increasing collaboration with ATF to ensure effective federal prosecutions of firearms traffickers associated with drug trafficking organizations; and
- Prioritizing the capture of DEA fugitives who employ violence as part of drug trafficking.
The traffickers that flood our communities with deadly drugs, including opioids, heroin, fentanyl, meth and cocaine, are often the same criminals responsible for the high rates of assault, murder, and gang activity in our cities. These criminals employ fear, violence, and intimidation to traffic drugs, and in doing so, exacerbate a drug crisis that claims more than 70,000 American lives every year. DEA is committed to treating these crimes as homicides, where appropriate.
Since August 1, 2020, the DEA Miami Field Division and its state and local partners have conducted operations against these violent traffickers throughout 41 cities in the Florida Peninsula. These operations have yielded:
- 357 arrests
- The seizures of :
- 172 firearms
- 105 pounds of cocaine
- 55 pounds of methamphetamine
- 33 pounds of heroin
- 30,000 illicit fentanyl pills
- More than $3 million of drug trafficker assets