DEA announces launch of Project Safeguard
BOSTON, MASS. (WLNE)- Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Administrator Timothy J. Shea announced Tuesday that the DEA plans to direct resources in order to reduce violent crime in communities around the country.
The initiative will be called Project Safeguard.
The DEA will identify and prioritize any ongoing drug trafficking investigations with a connection 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,” he continued.
“Project Safeguard is an example of DEA’s dedication to working with our local, state and federal partners in identifying, targeting and investigating violent criminals who are involved in trafficking drugs and firearms,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Brian D. Boyle.
“As we all know, drug trafficking in our communities, along with the gun and physical violence that often accompanies it, is a serious threat to our families and communities. These crimes rob the neighborhoods of safety and hold law abiding citizens of New England hostage to drug fueled lawlessness. This is unacceptable and will not be allowed to happen,” Boyle continued.
The DEA will work with federal, state, and local partners, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Marshals Service in order to crack down on violent crime.
They’ll focus on three areas to to address growing violent crime threats 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 prosecution of firearms traffickers associated with drug trafficking organizations; and
- Prioritizing the capture of DEA fugitives who employ violence as part of drug trafficking.
Drug trafficking claims more than 70,000 American lives every year according to the DEA.
In recent months, violent crime has spiked in numerous cities and regions around the country, and drug trafficking is responsible, in part, for this violence.
Since it began in August 2020, Project Safeguard has resulted in 128 cases, 254 arrests – including 2 DEA fugitives, 299 firearms, $6.9 Million in seized assets, 16.9 kilos of fentanyl, 11.5 kilos of heroin in the New England Field Division.