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WASHINGTON — Christopher Heck, Acting Deputy Assistant Director with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Public Safety and Border Security Division, participated in the first of two panel discussions focused on curbing the supply and demand of fentanyl across U.S. communities as a part of the National Crime Prevention Council National Fentanyl Summit, Oct. 19.

“Our efforts in combating this drug epidemic are part of an all-hands, whole-of-government approach. HSI has a robust international footprint to prioritize investigations against transnational criminal organizations (TCO) in a targeted effort to disrupt supply chains and stop precursor chemicals needed to make fentanyl from reaching labs and individuals making it,” said Heck. “As always, we will continue our collaborative efforts to exert our broad authorities every way possible to take down these operations.”

Heck expanded on how HSI has pivoted investigations following illicit currency, to now include cryptocurrency, to further develop intelligence leads that contribute to dismantling TCOs. In 2016, HSI seized roughly 6,000 pounds of fentanyl; compare that to nearly 20,000 pounds in fiscal year 2022. To date, HSI has seized more than 800,000 pounds of precursor chemicals used to manufacture fentanyl and methamphetamine, and recently seized over 630,000 counterfeit oxycodone pills that tested positive for fentanyl. This underscores not only the global drug epidemic but the public safety threat posed by fake pharmaceuticals procured via illegitimate means.

Derrick Brent, Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and Jon DeLena, Senior Executive Service/Associate Special Agent in Charge Drug Enforcement Administration, joined Heck during the first panel.

HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 6,800 special agents assigned to 225 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

ICE breaking news HSI participates in panel discussion on strengthening national response against fentanyl Government Agency News