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Project Safeguard: The DEA’s Increased Efforts to Combat Drug-Related Violent Crime in the PNW

Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Administrator Timothy J. Shea has 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 DEA 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.”

“Violence goes hand in hand with illegal drug trafficking and continually threatens the safety of our communities,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Keith Weis.  “While conducting investigations we continually  encounter individuals associated with violent actions that have included kidnappings, armed assaults, home invasions, murder for hire, weapons trafficking and  distributing the most dangerous drug we face –fentanyl.”

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Courtesy photo, DEA

Working in collaboration with our federal, state, and local partners, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives 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 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.   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 August 1, 2020, the DEA Seattle Field Division and its state and local partners have conducted operations against these violent traffickers throughout the Pacific Northwest which have yielded:

  • 146 arrests
  • 95 weapons seized
  • $3,559,107.00 in assets seized
  • Seized drugs:

           120 pounds of heroin

18.5 pounds of powder fentanyl

571 pounds of methamphetamine

37 pounds of cocaine

41,200 pills containing fentanyl

The DEA Seattle Field Division has worked these high-level investigations with the assistance of our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska.


The above is a press release from the DEA, Seattle Field Office.  The Auburn Examiner has not independently verified its contents and encourages our readers to personally verify any information they find may be overly biased or questionable. The publication of this press release does not indicate an endorsement of its contents. 

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