Hundreds have been arrested as part of an ongoing effort by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to crack down on suspects in violent criminal acts, an operation that has also led to the confiscation of more than 2,000 guns, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.
DEA Administrator Tim Shea told the AP in an interview that the agency has detained 1,521 people so far as part of the effort, nicknamed "Project Safeguard," including dozens of federal fugitives.
Shea told the AP in his interview that a focus on violent crimes and regional issues allowed the agency to pursue organized crime groups.
“By going after the violent crime, we’ve been able to investigate the larger regional groups,” he said.
Shea added that the effort has so far led to the seizure of 2,135 firearms, 357 pounds of heroin, 348 pounds of fentanyl and around $24 million in various other assets since it began on Aug 1.
The agency's focus on violent crime comes as President Trump has sought to make "law and order" one of the themes of his reelection campaign, which has entered its final weeks. At campaign events, he frequently targets the leadership of major U.S. cities, accusing Democrats of allowing crime to run rampant.
“I think a lot of people are looking what is happening to these Democrat-run cities and they are disgusted,” the president told reporters in September while headed to a campaign event in Wisconsin following violence in Kenosha, Wis. in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
“Take a look at Baltimore,” Trump said, citing the 2015 death of Freddy Gray in police custody, before referencing other protests over the treatment of Black Americans by police. “Take a look at St. Louis. Take a look at Ferguson, [Mo.]. Take a look at what happened.”