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DEA cracks down on violent crime, takes aim at Mexican Drug Cartels

Posted at 4:25 PM, Oct 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-20 20:26:06-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The Drug Enforcement Agency launched a summer project drilling down on factors leading to violent crime across the nation.

It is called Project Safeguard.

Special Agent in Charge of the San Diego district, John Callery, said, "over 75% of those [violent] crimes are driven to get money to buy drugs."

He said drugs and crime go hand in hand. "When a person devolves into a drug addict unfortunately they become very desperate right? And a desperate person will do desperate things to get money and buy drugs."

Callery said his team geared up to knock out 15 cases with violent criminals. The arrests happened from August to October.

"We took a three month, for lack of a better word, a surge. Let’s get violent actors off the street. Let’s arrest them, DEA, and let’s charge them federally." Callery said they arrested 34 criminals.

He added they have a lot of evidence to go through as well, "we’ve seized 71 firearms and... seized 160 kilograms of heroin and 160 kilograms of fentanyl."

He hopes the arrests lead to hundreds more and reveal kingpins in the Mexican Drug Cartels.

"We’re a border town and we have a huge responsibility here to try and stop drugs from entering the United States because 75% of all drugs enter right here in our area and go to the rest of the United States." Callery said he is incredibly proud of his team

He said five agents were infected with the novel coronavirus since March and have recovered. He said they haven't stopped working through the pandemic.

Callery said his next big task is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on October 24th. On takebackday.dea.gov you can find a collection site near you to drop unwanted, old medications so they don't get into the hands of children or others.