FBI talks about partnership with local police to tackle violent criminal organizations

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (September 3, 2015) – The FBI spent four weeks working alongside IMPD officers to gather intelligence and target violent criminal organizations. An initiative dubbed “Operation Safe 2.0” recently wrapped up. The effort focused on some of the city’s most violent neighborhoods, including several locations on the east side.

Over the past couple of months the U.S. Attorney’s Office has announced charges related to the dismantling of a major gang and a violent heroin trafficking ring. Federal, state and local law enforcement collaborated on some of these recent investigations.

On Wednesday, a joint investigation with the DEA and IMPD led to the arrests of 11 alleged members of a drug trafficking organization. Law enforcement official say David McMichel led the violent group which distributed heroin and methamphetamine. He’s accused of ordering associates to kill his competitors while he remained on house arrest. McMichel was serving a sentence for his third felony conviction at the time.

The FBI’s Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Greg Massa, explains those are the types of criminals his team is going after.

“We’re continuing to look at those criminal enterprises be it large or small,” said Massa. “That have reach within the city to other areas and other locations around the country, looking at drug trafficking, weapon trafficking, armed robberies.”

Last summer, “Operation Safe” provided valuable information about a violent east side gang called the Block Burners. The FBI began investigating the gang using various surveillance techniques, including wiretapping. The investigation led to one of the largest drug-related sweeps in the city of Indianapolis and resulted in more than two dozen arrests.

Every time law enforcement officials take down one of these gangs they know their work is really never done. Massa says it is a constant battle to keep another group from stepping up to fill that void when a drug dealer is taken out. Still he believes these recent efforts are beginning to make a difference.

“As soon as you plug a hole it’s coming in from another angle and that’s why you need all hands on deck,” said Massa.

The FBI’s Indianapolis Division is using this kind of collaborative model across the state in places like Gary and Ft. Wayne. Representatives with the FBI’s headquarters recently visited to take a closer look at those recent operations. FBI officials are studying Indy with the hope of replicating successful approaches across the country.

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