Washington, D.C.
FBI National Press Office
(202) 324-3691
February 2, 2024

FBI Leads Surge in Arrests Targeting Drug-Trafficking Organizations Nationwide

Across more than seven FBI field offices in the last two weeks, nearly 200 people have been charged as part of a series of arrests targeting large-scale drug-trafficking organizations operating throughout the United States and North America.

"As demonstrated by the sweep of arrests and criminal charges filed nationwide over the last two weeks alone, the FBI will never stop until violent criminals are taken off the streets and brought to justice, making our communities safer,” said FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate. “The FBI works relentlessly day and night alongside local, state, and federal law enforcement partners across the country to arrest and neutralize the most dangerous violent offenders and dismantle the criminal enterprises behind them. This is a snapshot of the work our dedicated personnel are committed to doing 24/7, and the community impact occurring each and every day.”

FBI Los Angeles: On January 30, ten people were arrested in multiple North American cities in relation to two federal indictments charging members of an organized crime syndicate who allegedly conspired to traffic and import hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and other controlled substances from Mexico through Los Angeles for export to Canada or redistribution throughout the U.S.

The indictments allege illicit drug trafficking activity cumulatively involving approximately 845 kilograms (1,860 pounds) of methamphetamine, 951 kilograms (2,092 pounds) of cocaine, 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of fentanyl, and 4 kilograms (nearly 9 pounds) of heroin. Over $900,000 in cash was seized during the investigation. The estimated wholesale value of the narcotics seized was between $16 and 28 million.

“Until today, the organized members of this conspiracy operated with impunity throughout the many thousands of miles that comprise the North American continent, poisoning communities along the way,” said Assistant Director in Charge Donald Alway of the FBI Los Angeles Field Office. “The strength of this partnership cannot be overstated. The agents and detectives on this case did an outstanding job of pooling resources and worked seamlessly across borders toward a mutual goal of putting this massive drug pipeline out of business.”

FBI Columbia: On January 29, the FBI Columbia Field Office, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of South Carolina, and other local and state law enforcement agencies announced that more than a dozen individuals were charged in federal court in connection with narcotics, firearms, and conspiracy offenses after a targeted violent crime reduction initiative in Myrtle Beach and the surrounding areas. The indictments are a result of a series of coordinated arrests made following a targeted multiagency investigation that spanned several months.

Over the last year, the FBI Columbia Field Office assisted local and state law enforcement agencies in an advanced, intelligence-based, multifaceted law enforcement operation to identify communities in Myrtle Beach that were experiencing high levels of gang- and narcotics-related violence. The joint investigation has led to 13 defendants facing federal charges. Agents seized multiple firearms, ammunition, and various dangerous drugs, such as fentanyl.

FBI Anchorage: On January 25, Special Agent in Charge Antony Jung of the FBI Anchorage Field Office, the U.S Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska, and a multitude of local, state, and federal partners announced that 53 people have been charged through nine indictments in connection with a large-scale organized crime ring operating within the state of Alaska. Charges include drug trafficking, violent crime, conspiracy to distribute fentanyl resulting in death, continuing criminal enterprise, and money laundering. Court documents identified at least 76 separate money-laundering transactions as part of the investigation, including some made internationally to Mexico.

From February 2022 to July 2023, law enforcement intercepted roughly 36 kilograms of fentanyl, 27.3 kilograms of meth, 11.3 kilograms of heroin, and 118 grams of cocaine connected to the enterprise, with the majority destined for various communities across the state of Alaska. According to the indictments, the enterprise mainly used high-level suppliers to send drug packages through the U.S. Postal Service from Oregon and California to Alaskan communities, from the most populous cities to some of Alaska’s smallest villages.

FBI Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Richmond: On January 24, 82 people were indicted by a federal grand jury for a drug trafficking operation that distributed fentanyl, methamphetamine, and cocaine as a result of a collaborative investigative effort by the FBI Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Richmond field offices.

“In a coordinated effort across three states, the FBI and our partners worked seamlessly to degrade the capabilities of a criminal enterprise that endangered the lives of our children and neighbors by pedaling illegal narcotics into our communities,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Mike Shanahan of the FBI Pittsburgh Division. “Today, their illicit activities came to an end.”

The investigation yielded 10 kilograms of fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine, firearms, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in assets, with individuals from Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia being charged with drug trafficking.

FBI Omaha: On January 23, an operation led by the FBI Omaha Field Office and the Nebraska State Patrol led to the arrest of 19 people and the unsealing of at least nine indictments for their roles as part of a methamphetamine distribution ring operating throughout Nebraska with ties to Kentucky and California. Those arrested face a variety of charges to include conspiracy to distribute over 500 grams of methamphetamine, possessing a firearm during and in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The investigation and prosecution of these cases are part of Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operations, which aim to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multiagency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.