WASHINGTON –– Following the success of Operations Blue Lotus and Four Horsemen, which stopped nearly 10,000 pounds of fentanyl during their two-month run and led to 284 arrests in those two months, today the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the next phase of its surge campaign to target and prevent fentanyl from entering the United States. The next two Operations, “Artemis” and “Rolling Wave,” will consist of multidisciplined interagency jump teams at strategic locations with an enhanced focus on disrupting the supply chain used in the development and movement of fentanyl.
Operation Artemis, led by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), will leverage intelligence and investigative information derived from Operation Blue Lotus to target the fentanyl supply chain and interdict items required in the production of fentanyl. This work will be supported by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Concurrently, Operation Rolling Wave will surge inbound inspections at Southwest Border checkpoints, covering every sector and leveraging predictive analysis and intelligence sharing.
HSI will continue surging resources to Ports of Entry, where 90 percent of fentanyl is trafficked primarily in cars and trucks, while also increasing its coordination of operations to target the fentanyl supply chain under Blue Lotus 2.0. CBP will run a parallel intelligence and analysis operation, Operation Argus, to provide trade-focused analysis in support of Blue Lotus 2.0 and Artemis.
“The intelligence and investigative work being conducted by DHS Agencies and with our federal partners to disrupt the fentanyl supply chain is unprecedented,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “These operations build on the success of Operations Blue Lotus and Four Horsemen, which from March through May prevented nearly 10,000 pounds of fentanyl from entering the United States and yielded invaluable insights into criminal networks. Cartels have been producing synthetic drugs for years, and the DHS workforce is unwavering in its dedication to stopping them. In the past two years, DHS seized more fentanyl than in the previous five years combined, and these operations are an example of how we are broadening that effort.”
These operations build on a tremendous amount of work across DHS:
- DHS has initiated major investigative and enforcement operations targeting fentanyl, its chemical precursors, and the supply chain.
- HSI and CBP previously established Border Enforcement Security Taskforce (BEST) units at CBP’s international mail facilities (IMFs), express consignment hubs, land border ports of entry, and international airports.
- DHS investment in non-intrusive inspection technology (NII), including the deployment of Multi Energy Portals (MEP) in the cargo environment that are significantly expanding our ability to screen traffic through Ports of Entry.
“The men and women of CBP, together with our partners, are working on the front lines of the fight against fentanyl – aggressively targeting and disrupting drug trafficking organizations at the source,” said CBP Acting Commissioner Troy A. Miller. “The new operations will build on the successful pairing of law enforcement partnerships and technological advancements to keep these devastating drugs out of our communities.”
“The incredible efforts and outcomes of Homeland Security Investigations special agents during Operation Blue Lotus was just the beginning of this ongoing fight against the opioid epidemic,” said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Deputy Director and Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Director Tae D. Johnson. “HSI is continuing this fight against transnational criminal organizations head-on, utilizing every investigative resource available, together with our partners to disrupt and dismantle these illicit narcotics supply chains.”
HSI has also deployed additional dedicated teams to every Special Agent in Charge (SAC) office throughout the country performing fentanyl investigation operations, including work to identify transnational criminal organization networks and to target dark web vendors. HSI is also bolstering support for ongoing initiatives including Operations Hydra, which uses computer-based analytic tools to go after TCO chemical supplies; Pelican Bones, which includes a focus on financial tools used by criminal organizations; and Chain Breaker, which targets equipment needed to manufacture pills; as well as additional personnel deployed at express consignment facilities.
In addition to their disruption of fentanyl smuggling, these operations are also designed to continue to improve interagency cooperation and strengthen regional partnerships, shared intelligence, and coordinated operations.
DHS will announce the results of the operations in the coming weeks.