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Crime doesn’t take a break for a pandemic: Coast Guard, FBI still busy

Crime doesn’t take a break during a pandemic.

Banks are still robbed, drugs are still crossing the border and people are on the water. So whether by air, land or sea, federal agencies are operating within the CDC guidelines, but are still on the job.

“There are still a lot of boats on the water. I just think the tourism has been down a bit, but a lot of Floridians are still on the water,” said Chief Warrant Officer Josh Janney, Commanding Officer Coast Guard Station Fort Myers Beach.

That is keeping the Coast Guard busy. They are adapting to the new rules of operating during a pandemic.

“We’re conducting the same missions we always conduct. We are just doing it while trying our best to follow the CDC recommendations on social distancing, COVID prevention,” Janney said.

The Coast Guard remains on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

We’ve had about 20 search and rescue cases through March and April,” Janney said.

Meanwhile, the FBI says fraud calls are up about four times normal, keeping them busy. All the FBI task forces are fully operational.

We do all things, trade, travel and finances with links to our international borders,” said Homeland Security Investigations Assistant Special Agent in Charge Micha McCombs.

So in addition to running Operation Stolen Promises, a major COVID-19 scam task force, HSI investigators have a full plate covering: “Child exploitation, cyber-enabled crime, money laundering, drug smuggling, human smuggling, human trafficking, the list goes on,” McCombs said, and they remain busy.

Our Fort Myers office and surrounding offices are fully engaged with our federal state and local partners on a multitude of crimes that are currently ongoing,” he said.

Does this change things for Southwest Florida? “As far as the public is concerned, it should be business as usual,” says Janney.

Reporter:Rich Kolko
Writer:Briana Harvath
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