DOJ forms gun-trafficking strike force in five cities to crack down on sources of firearms-related crime

The department launched anti-gun trafficking strike forces to be located in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, the San Francisco Bay Area and Washington, DC, known corridors where illegal guns are being smuggled and used. Fatal shootings and other crimes.

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco told CNN’s Brianna Keeler that the strike force “will be focused on disrupting the illegal firearms trafficking network.”

“We obviously always want to go after the person who is pulling the trigger who is costing lives in our communities, but we also need to go after the network, the very same illegal trafficking network that is in the hands of those criminals. Putting guns in. First place,” Monaco said Thursday on CNN’s “New Day.”

The goal is to better coordinate federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in jurisdictions to disrupt smuggling networks from where guns originate, where they travel through other jurisdictions, and places where They are eventually used to commit violent crimes, to a Justice Department official.

“Often, the guns found at crime sites come from hundreds or even thousands of miles away. We are redoubled our efforts as the ATF works with law enforcement to track the movement of illegal firearms used in violent crimes. These strike forces enable continuous coordination. Multiple jurisdictions to help disrupt the worst gun smuggling corridors. The Department of Justice will use all of its tools – enforcement, prevention, intervention and investment – ​​to protect our communities To help ensure that — the department’s top priority,” Garland said in a statement before moving to Chicago.

From year to year in Los Angeles, New York and the San Francisco Bay Area, there has been an increase in homicides. In Chicago, there were 411 murders up to this point last year, and there have been 405 as of Sunday. In Washington, D.C., the homicides are the same year-over-year, with a total of 105 in both this and previous years.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in an interview with CNN that she has sought help from President Joe Biden.

“We need gun smuggling multi-jurisdictional strike forces to stop the flow of illegal guns coming into our city,” Lightfoot told CNN. “Me and other mayors across the country have been playing this drum since the first day of his presidency. … I hope those strike forces will be here soon.”

Ahead of the Justice Department’s announcement, the Chicago Police Department on Monday announced a strike force team made up of local police officers, the ATF, and a firearms investigation unit already within the department.

Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said at a news conference Monday that Chicago police officers recovered 113 guns over the weekend, a 22% increase over the comparable weekend last year, and gun recoveries 26% compared to last year. is more. year.

“Often, law enforcement focuses on violent crimes occurring within their jurisdiction, which of course should be, but with a crime such as firearms smuggling, guns can originate in one location and cause violence elsewhere. This new approach that links law enforcement and prosecutors in places where firearms originated with law enforcement and prosecutors in areas where firearms originated, a comprehensive and coordinated multidisciplinary response To make sure that stays our focus,” a Justice Department official said.

These anti-gun violence initiatives have involved ATF agents and task force officers in more than 45 local homicide units to coordinate efforts and provide additional resources to address violence crime, a Justice Department official said. The DEA is also focusing its efforts in coordination with state, local and tribal law enforcement to disrupt the activities of the most violent drug trafficking gangs and drug trafficking organizations operating in the highest crime areas. Can you

There has been a significant increase in killings since 2019 in all cities of the strike forces.

But overall gun violence – including non-lethal shootings – remains a major concern. The Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco police departments reported to CNN an increase in the number of total gun violence victims, including non-fatal shootings. CNN reached out to the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, DC for the number of gun violence victims for this year, but did not hear back.

The most notable increase has been in San Francisco, where, as of June 30, there were 119 victims of gun violence, more than double the number of 58 victims from the previous year.

The initiative follows a nationwide effort launched in May by the Justice Department, titled the “Violent Crime Reduction Initiative,” which aims to arrest fugitives by collaborating with community groups, the FBI, ATF, DEA, and local law enforcement. To try and stop a violent crime before it happens. Wanted for violent crimes including murder and serious sexual assault.

According to a Justice Department official, “these efforts, which have been executed by eight regional fugitive task forces, have resulted in the arrest of more than 700 fugitives, 361 of whom were wanted for murder.”

Since April, the Justice Department has taken a number of steps to reduce and prevent violent crime, particularly the gun crime that is often at the core of the problem. Some steps involve getting definition of gun A loophole has been changed to close which allows the sale of “ghost guns” – self-made guns that do not have traceable components.

CNN’s Veronica Straqualursi contributed to this report.


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