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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Tennessee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 25, 2018

DEA Targets Opioid Crisis with Operation Safe Haven

Memphis, TN - The Drug Enforcement Administration this week launched Operation Safe Haven, a sweeping enforcement action spanning three states. DEA Special Agents, working closely with their state and local law enforcement partners throughout Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia targeted a variety of bad actors, ranging from healthcare workers and distributors, to street-level drug dealers in a coordinated effort to attack the opioid crisis head-on in the region.

Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia have been hit particularly hard by the opioid crisis, according to James Catalano, Resident Agent in Charge of DEA’s Memphis Office. "Through operations like Safe Haven, the dedicated men and women of DEA, with help from our state and local counterparts, are working hard to make these communities safer by getting dangerous drugs off of our streets and bringing those who distribute them to justice," Catalano said.

Operation Safe Haven is the culmination of several months-long investigations. DEA Special Agents and Diversion Investigators from the Louisville Field Division, with support from local law enforcement agencies across the region, made 93 arrests, and seized over $1,000,000.00 in cash, 40 firearms, as well as significant quantities of heroin, fentanyl, and other drugs. Additionally, over 60 administrative actions were carried out against a range of healthcare providers.

Combatting opioid abuse is a top priority for DEA. In conjunction with Operation Safe Haven’s enforcement activities, DEA Diversion Investigators visited more than 100 pharmacies in 70 cities throughout Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia to deliver pharmacist manuals and contact information for the Louisville Division’s Diversion Program. These visits mark the beginning of an on-going campaign to remind pharmacy staff of their compliance duties and ethical responsibilities.

The DEA’s Louisville Field Division covers Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia, under the direction of Special Agent In Charge D. Christopher Evans. The Division was created in 2018 to better synchronize DEA’s efforts with regional law enforcement partners in a part of the country among those hardest hit by America’s opioid epidemic.

Updated May 25, 2018