The FBI announced Tuesday that over the summer agents arrested nearly 6,000 people suspected of committing violence, seized thousands of guns and recovered massive amounts of fentanyl — part of a joint effort with local law enforcement agencies to curb violent crime rates that rose sharply across the country during the first two years of the pandemic.
The federal law enforcement agency touted what it described as successes dismantling gangs and charging people suspected of drug trafficking in Puerto Rico, Florida, Texas and more. The arrests and seizures occurred during a five-month period between May 1 and Sept. 2. The FBI only shared the total number of arrests, not case outcomes or dismissals.
While the nationwide homicide rate is slightly lower than it was at this time last year, it is still higher than it was before the pandemic, according to a midyear report from the Council on Criminal Justice. And in some cities, including D.C., the murder rate is up this year compared with 2021.
“I believe the FBI’s most sacred duty is to ensure people can live free from fear in their own homes and neighborhoods,” FBI Director Christopher A. Wray said in a statement Tuesday. “To that end, we dedicate agents, analysts, and technical resources across the country to work with state and local law enforcement on these operations.”
Among the major arrests and seizures the FBI announced: In New Mexico, the FBI Albuquerque Violent Gang Task Force executed 16 federal search warrants, resulting in the capture of more than 1 million fentanyl pills, 142 pounds of methamphetamine, 37 firearms, nine ballistic vests, two hand grenades and $1.8 million in cash.
In Puerto Rico, 41 alleged gang members were arrested on drug trafficking and firearms charges. The criminal organization allegedly distributed heroin, cocaine, marijuana, Oxycodone, Xanax and other drugs.
And in Houston, a federal grand jury indicted 10 alleged MS-13 gang members on murder, firearm and obstruction charges. The indictment included charges related to seven homicides between 2015 and 2018; among the victims were a female juvenile and a police informant.
“The charges in this case reflect the Justice Department’s commitment to dismantling and disrupting MS-13, a criminal organization that sows violence, terror and fear in communities across the country,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in August when a grand jury made the indictments in Texas.