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Transnational Gangs
12/18/2019

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ICE HSI sees increase in criminal arrests in FY 2019 in DC, Virginia

Significant increases in drug and arms seizures, gang arrests

WASHINGTON – 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 total criminal arrests for crimes ranging from narcotics smuggling to gang investigations across its area of responsibility, which includes Virginia; Washington, D.C.; and West Virginia.

HSI Washington, D.C. marked a ten-fold increase in narcotics seizures from nearly 400 lbs. in FY 2018 to over 4,000 lbs. in FY 2019, and a two-fold increase in firearms seizures, taking nearly 100 arms off the streets of Washington, D.C., Virginia, and West Virginia. These figures were due to significant cases like:

  • The seizure of 1.2 kilograms of fentanyl by the HSI-led Mountain and Old Dominion Border Enforcement Security Taskforce (BEST) as part of an ongoing narcotics investigation, resulting in an indictment announced by United States Attorney Mike Stuart. A federal grand jury sitting in Huntington, W. Va. has returned a six-count superseding indictment charging Steven Dale McCallister, 45, and his father, Larry McCallister, 76, a retired Cabell County Deputy Sheriff, with various drug and gun crimes.
  • 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.

Additionally, the HSI Washington, D.C. office arrested over 50 individuals related to gang investigations, a 70% increase over FY 2018 due to new strategies attacking transnational gang threats from every angle and increased collaboration with our local, state and federal partners to maximize resources to dismantle and disrupt violent criminal networks.

"HSI is focused on creating safer communities through our investigations. These numbers showcase our significant accomplishments in removing drugs, firearms, and violent gang members from our streets," said Raymond Villanueva, special agent in charge of HSI Washington. "These significant results reflect the dedication and expertise of our agents."

Across its 30 field offices in FY 2019, HSI made more than 1,900 fentanyl-related arrests and over 4,300 gang arrests including over 450 arrests of MS-13 members.

HSI is the principal investigative component of the Department of Homeland Security that investigates 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.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 12/18/2019