FBI Cleveland
Public Affairs Officer Susan Licate
February 6, 2024

FBI Cleveland Shares Recap and Highlights From FY 2023

Drug and Weapons Trafficking, Crime, and Fraud Continue to be a Problem Across Northern Ohio

CLEVELAND, OH—FBI Cleveland and its eight Resident Agencies closed out a busy fiscal year facing a myriad of growing and evolving threats across the 40 northern-most counties of Ohio. FBI Cleveland covers the 40 northern-most counties in the State of Ohio.

“The trends we are seeing are not unique to the big cities in America, whether it’s violent crime, threats of terrorism, cybercrime, or drugs, guns, or human trafficking. From smallest and most rural towns to the larger and more populous cities, criminal enterprises are here, and operating in the backyard of all our communities,” said FBI Cleveland Special Agent in Charge Greg Nelsen.

In fiscal year 2023, the division noted the following accomplishments:

  • Over 600 drug seizures.
  • Nearly 500 weapons recovered.
  • Over 400 arrests and indictments, each.
  • Nearly 400 convictions.
  • Just over 400 sentencings.
  • Over 15 children identified.
  • Just under 20 children located.

The division conducted over 115 disruptions, which is an operation in which we can articulate the routine operation of a criminal street gang (CSG) or group of criminals working together that was disrupted by an action or set of arrests conducted.

Additionally, the division recorded 15 dismantles, which are a set of operations or close of an investigation in which the FBI can articulate complete dismantlement of a CSG or group. Disruptions and Dismantlement’s must be approved by FBI headquarters.

A few of the highlights from the year include the arrest of 31 individuals of a drug trafficking organization in Marion, Ohio in June 2023. Arrest warrants led to the discoveries of 3 kilograms of fentanyl, 2 kilograms of cocaine, more than a kilogram of meth, 15 firearms and more than $25,000 in cash. That is enough fentanyl to kill every person in Columbus, Cincinnati, and Cleveland.

Additionally, the sentencing of Discovery Tours CEO Joseph Cipolletti who embezzled over $550,000 and $1.5 million from his family’s student travel company for his personal use, bilking schools, students, and their families of destination field trips to Washington D.C.

Finally, the sentencing of a 37-year-old Massillon man sentenced to 30 Years in prison and lifetime supervision for kidnapping a 5-Year-Old child and possession of child pornography.

“Our focus is unwavering; to protect the American public and uphold the U.S. Constitution. The nearly 300 special agents and professional staff of the division work tirelessly every day of the year; the FBI doesn’t close. We all want the same thing – to feel safe in our homes, at work or school, in our community, and, to build a brighter future for the next generation, Nelsen added.”

FBI Cleveland is headquartered in downtown Cleveland with Resident Agencies in Painesville, Youngstown, Akron, Canton, Mansfield, Lima, Toledo, and Sandusky. To report a federal violation of law to the FBI Cleveland, or to any FBI field office, call 1-800-CALL-FBI or tips.fbi.gov.