Op-Ed by FBI San Diego Special Agent in Charge Stacey Moy: 2023 Year in Review
The following is a previously unpublished op-ed by FBI San Diego Special Agent in Charge Stacey Moy.
As we welcome the new year, it’s important to reflect on the previous year so that we can understand the best ways to move forward.
2023 was certainly challenging for many, especially with the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. Nationwide, and right here in San Diego, the FBI saw an increase in reports of threats against Jewish, Muslim, and Arab communities and institutions. I want our community to know that we take all potential threats seriously and we will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to determine the credibility of any threats, share information, and take appropriate investigative action.
I celebrate each of the more than 500 employees that work tirelessly to keep the citizens of Southern California and beyond safe. In 2023, members of our team were nationally recognized for their work on Operation Trojan Shield, an international, multi-year investigation that disrupted an international crime ring. We also seized nearly $41 million worth of forfeited assets last year alone. Our 24/7 Operations Center took more than 3,200 public phone calls and processed over 10,000 tips. More than 2,300 evidence submissions were processed, and our special agents successfully got nearly 430 pounds of drugs off the streets in 155 different incidents.
Partnerships remain at the core of what makes our work ever more impactful. We couldn't be successful without the collaboration of our local, state, and federal partners. In the summer of 2023, members of the FBI team participated in Operation Cross Country alongside more than a dozen local partners to identify and locate victims of sex trafficking. During this operation, 15 victims—including two minors—were located and referred services. Four individuals suspected of human trafficking and/or the sexual exploitation of children were also arrested.
Of the 388 total arrests made by FBI San Diego, one of the most significant captures was that of Patrick Wei, a U.S. Navy sailor who is charged with espionage. Wei’s arrest demonstrated the FBI’s commitment to utilize the full scope of its law enforcement and U.S. Intelligence Community resources, amplifying its capabilities to combat the threats against our military from the government of China and to protect the United States’ most precious assets.
In this next year, the San Diego Field Office will continue to build on our successes from this past year. When I speak with local chiefs and sheriffs about the threats they're tackling, violent crime is the No. 1 issue. Our goal as the FBI is not just to put people in cuffs, but to build cases that cut into the capabilities of criminal enterprises so that we put the worst of the worst behind bars, ultimately leading to safer communities.
We participated in 77 joint operations with our law enforcement partners throughout the year and made 170 indictments. One of those indictments was of Maksim Galochkin, an international cybercriminal who was charged in connection with Conti ransomware conspiracies. Investigating cybercrimes are a primary focus of the FBI. We remain committed to aggressively attacking these types of crimes and the criminals who perpetrate them.
I recognize that our threats are always evolving and expanding; therefore, our work is never done. In the past year, the FBI San Diego team successfully disrupted 97 threat actors from engaging in criminal activity and dismantled nine criminal organizations.
I also cannot omit the importance of our community partnerships. We have a constant footprint in the community and are always looking for ways that we can educate and raise awareness about the FBI within the San Diego community. One of our hallmark programs, the FBI Citizens Academy, graduated 29 participants in 2023. This is an annual program where we invite citizens to participate in a seven-week immersive experience to learn about the FBI. Experiences and opportunities to interact with the community in ways such as this are invaluable to strengthening our community partnerships.
In 2024, I look forward to more opportunities to partner not only with other law enforcement agencies, but also with our communities, so that we can continue to disrupt and dismantle violent crime in our neighborhoods.
As a native San Diegan, I'm extremely proud to serve in the community that raised me. Because of this, I take protecting this city and surrounding areas very seriously. In 2024, FBI San Diego will continue to deliver justice in an objective, unbiased way. Our goal is to do the right thing, in the right way, 100% of the time. I sincerely thank this community for supporting the FBI and I ask that you continue to support us in the new year and beyond.
Special Agent in Charge Stacey Moy
FBI San Diego