COLUMBUS, Ohio — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents and task force officers from Cincinnati and Columbus were among several law enforcement personnel recognized at a ceremony Thursday by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.
The special agents were honored with the “Ohio Distinguished Law Enforcement Group Achievement Award” during the annual Ohio Attorney General’s Law Enforcement Conference.
This is the first time HSI special agents have been honored with the group award. Awards are presented to individuals and task forces in local, state and federal law enforcement organizations that have made significant contributions to crime-fighting efforts in the state.
"This dedicated group of special agents are among the best and brightest at HSI and are very deserving of this honor," said Steve Francis, special agent in charge of HSI Detroit, which oversees Michigan and Ohio. " The significant results of these task forces speak for themselves and to the powerful force multiplier of collaboration. I commend all the award recipients honored today and I’m proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with every member of the task force.”
“Special agents with HSI play an integral role in the Miami Valley Bulk Smuggling Task Force and the Central Ohio High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force – both of which were recognized today with group achievement awards,” said Attorney General DeWine. “I am pleased to honor these federal agents and their task force partners for their dedication to combating national and international drug couriers, stopping the flow of illegal drugs into Ohio and shutting down drug trafficking operations.”
The Ohio task forces seized nearly $7 million in illicit proceeds in fiscal year 2017, from criminal organizations, nearly a million dollars more than last year's totals. In less than five years, the task forces have seized more than $10 million in criminal proceeds.
In addition to this year's monetary seizures, authorities arrested 483 people, largely in connection with drug trafficking organizations.
As a result of these efforts, authorities seized the following:
- Marijuana: 656,896 grams
- Cocaine: 217,706 grams
- Heroin: 57, 438 grams
- Fentanyl (inc. Carfentanyl): 49,311 grams
- Methamphetamines: 28,648 pounds
- Ecstasy/MDMA: 3,511 pounds
- Firearms: 53
Source: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE.gov)