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Area, state law enforcement make arrests, seize 50 guns

A three-month operation focused on reducing violent crime in Selma and the Gulf Coast region resulted in federal charges against 24 defendants, with about 50 guns seized, announced U.S. Attorney Richard Moore, Southern District of Alabama; U.S. Attorney Louis Franklin, Middle District of Alabama; Assistant Special Agent in Charge David Hyche along with Special Agent in Charge Marcus Watson of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office and ATF joined with local law enforcement in Selma and the Gulf Coast Region in an intense effort named “Operation Focused Remedy” which crime gun intelligence focuses on the arrest of violent offenders, disrupting the shooting cycle and taking guns off the streets. The participating agencies include Alabama Attorney General’s Office, Selma Police Department, U.S. Marshals Service, Gulf Coast Task Force, DEA, Moundville Police Department, 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, 4th and 17th Judicial Drug Task Forces as well as Dallas, Hale and Marengo County Sheriff’s Offices.

U.S. Attorney Moore said, “The level of gun violence in the Southern District of Alabama is too high. I appreciate the combined efforts of our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to interrupt this pattern of federal firearms violations. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will stand with the citizens of our district to insist our streets being safe for our children and particularly safe from gun violence. Our office in the near future will have a greater presence in Selma as a part of this new initiative.”

ATF’s Crime Gun Intelligence resources include firearms tracing, the use of NIBIN (National Integrated Ballistic Information Network) and the issues surrounding stolen firearms from the public. The 24 defendants facing current gun charges all have multiple prior felony convictions.

“ATF and our partners are committed to removing the criminal element from the streets of Selma,” Watson said. “ATF Crime Gun Intelligence Centers are the driving force to reducing the violent crime and disrupting the shooting cycle that plagues our neighborhoods.”

These cases are part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department of Justice’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally based strategies to reduce violent crime.

Anyone with information regarding firearms related violent crimes should contact the ATF at (800) ATF-GUNS (1-800-283-4867).  Information also can be sent to ATF via the mobile app www.reportit.com by using the Nashville Field Division as the location. 

(This article originally appeared in the Saturday, August 11 issue of the Demopolis Times.)