More than 6,000 people were arrested by FBI agents as part of a joint effort with local law enforcement agencies to help combat violent crime. Over the summer, the FBI seized thousands of guns and recovered massive amounts of fentanyl, hoping to lower crime rates that spiked sharply during the first two years of the pandemic. The arrests by federal law enforcement occurred during a five-month period between May 1 and Sept. 2 in which they prioritized dismantling gangs and charging suspected drug traffickers. The FBI shared only the total number of arrests, not case outcomes or dismissals, reports the Washington Post. While nationwide homicide totals are slightly lower than at this time last year, they still are higher than before the pandemic, according to a midyear report from the Council on Criminal Justice.
A majority of the summer arrests were of gang members who were actively involved in the trafficking of drugs. In New Mexico, the FBI Albuquerque Violent Gang Task Force executed 16 search warrants, resulting in the capture of more than 1 million fentanyl pills, 142 pounds of methamphetamine, 37 firearms, nine ballistic vests, two hand grenades and $1.8 million in cash. In Puerto Rico, 41 alleged gang members were arrested on drug trafficking and firearms charges. The criminal organization allegedly distributed heroin, cocaine, marijuana, Oxycodone, Xanax and other drugs. In Houston, a federal grand jury indicted 10 alleged MS-13 gang members on murder, firearm and obstruction charges. The indictment included charges related to seven homicides between 2015 and 2018; among the victims were a female juvenile and a police informant. “The charges in this case reflect the Justice Department’s commitment to dismantling and disrupting MS-13, a criminal organization that sows violence, terror and fear in communities across the country,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland at the time of the Texas indictments.