DEA announces launch of Project Safeguard to combat drug, violent crimes

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ST. LOUIS – The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Acting Administrator Timothy J. Shea announced Tuesday, Oct. 20 the DEA will be redirecting their resources to help reduce violent crime in communities throughout the country.

According to William Callahan, DEA St. Louis division special agent in charge, under the initiative called Project Safeguard, the DEA will identify and prioritize ongoing drug trafficking investigations with a focus on violent crime.

The DEA St. Louis Division includes Missouri, Kansas and southern Illinois.

“The Midwest is unfortunately too familiar with violent criminals,” Callahan said. “This operation will help focus resources to continue our efforts to combat drug traffickers who use violent means to conduct their illegal business operations.”

Since the initiative began in August 2020 in the St. Louis Division, Project Safeguard has resulted in 39 cases, 54 arrests, including two DEA fugitives, 197 seized firearms, nearly $160,000 in seized assets, and 196 kilograms of seized controlled substances.

Callahan says the DEA will be working in collaboration with federal, state, and local partners including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the U.S. Marshals Service to focus on three main areas:

  1. Disrupting, dismantling, and destroying the most significant violent drug trafficking organizations throughout the United States.
  2. Increasing collaboration with ATF to ensure effective federal prosecution of firearms traffickers associated with drug trafficking organizations.
  3. Prioritizing the capture of DEA fugitives who employ violence as part of drug trafficking.

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