NORFOLK, Va. – In fiscal year 2019 (FY 2019), which ran from Oct. 1, 2018, to Sept. 30, 2019, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C. made nearly 470 arrests for crimes ranging from narcotics smuggling to child exploitation across its area of responsibility, which includes Virginia; Washington, D.C.; and West Virginia. HSI Norfolk, a sub-office of HSI Washington, D.C., accounted for more than 200 of those criminal arrests during FY 2019, marking a nearly 40 percent increase from FY 2018.
HSI Norfolk doubled its number of narcotics enforcement arrests and child exploitation arrests during FY 2019, totaling nearly 100 and 40, respectively. These figures were due to significant cases like:
- Operation Cookout that resulted in indictments against 39 individuals for their roles in a heroin and fentanyl trafficking conspiracy. This HSI-led operation resulted in 35 arrests, as well as the seizure of 24 firearms, 30 kilograms of fentanyl, 30 kilograms of heroin, five kilograms of cocaine and more than $700,000 in cash during a three-day takedown in August 2019.
- A child exploitation case where a 16-year-old victim met defendant Lavelle Hasson Mayfield at her family's church. The investigation determined the defendant took 137 pornographic images and two videos of the victim and engaged in sexual intercourse with her. Mayfield has pleaded guilty to production of child pornography charges.
In FY 2019, HSI Norfolk, as the federal law enforcement lead of the Hampton Roads Human Trafficking Task Force, also continued its efforts to combat human trafficking in the region. In FY 2019, the task force made 36 arrests, prosecuted 11 cases and identified 48 victims. HSI uses a victim-centered approach in its trafficking investigations, where equal value is placed on the identification and stabilization of victims as the prosecution of the traffickers.
"In FY 2019, HSI Norfolk removed more than 100 kilograms of drugs from the streets, arrested child predators who preyed on our community's most vulnerable, and rescued nearly 50 human trafficking victims," said Jim Stitzel, assistant special agent in charge of HSI Norfolk. "The numbers speak for themselves; the work HSI special agents do every day makes Hampton Roads a safer place."
Nationally, in FY 2019, HSI made more than 1,900 fentanyl-related arrests and nearly 2,000 human trafficking-related arrests. HSI also arrested nearly 4,000 human traffickers across the country in FY 2019.
HSI is the principal investigative component of the Department of Homeland Security, and the Norfolk office is one of more than 210 HSI offices across the U.S. that investigate a multitude of crimes to include: financial crimes, bulk cash smuggling, cybercrimes, exploitation of children and child sex tourism, weapons smuggling and export enforcement, trade crimes such as commercial fraud and intellectual property theft, human smuggling and trafficking, narcotics smuggling and trafficking, identity and benefit fraud, human rights violations, transnational gang activity, counterterrorism and visa security.