DOJ creates gun trafficking strike forces in San Francisco Bay Area to crack down on sources of firearm-related crime


By Christina Carrega, Priya Krishnakumar, Omar Jimenez and Evan Perez | CNN

Attorney General Merrick Garland plans to travel to Chicago on Thursday to highlight the Justice Department’s new anti-gun trafficking initiative focused on five cities, as the Biden administration faces political pressure to deal with spikes in crime.

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

The strike forces will be “focused on disrupting illegal firearms trafficking networks,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco told CNN’s Brianna Keilar.

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

The goal is to better coordinate federal, state and local law enforcement agencies across jurisdictions to disrupt trafficking networks from the place where guns originate, where they travel through other jurisdictions, and to the places where they’re ultimately used to commit violent crime, according to a Justice Department official.

“All too often, guns found at crime scenes come from hundreds or even thousands of miles away. We are redoubling our efforts as ATF works with law enforcement to track the movement of illegal firearms used in violent crimes. These strike forces enable sustained coordination across multiple jurisdictions to help disrupt the worst gun trafficking corridors. The Department of Justice will use all of its tools — enforcement, prevention, intervention, and investment — to help ensure the safety of our communities — the department’s highest priority,” Garland said in a statement prior to his departure to Chicago.

Year-to-date, homicides have increased in Los Angeles, New York and the San Francisco Bay area. In Chicago, there were 411 homicides by this point last year, and there have been 405 as of Sunday. In Washington, DC, homicides are the same year-to-date, totaling 105 both this and last years.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in an interview with CNN that she has asked President Joe Biden for assistance.

“We need gun trafficking multi-jurisdictional strike forces to disrupt the flow of illegal guns that are coming into our city,” Lightfoot told CNN. “I and other mayors across the country have been beating this drum since day 1 of his presidency. … My expectation is that those strike forces will be at work here shortly.”

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

The Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said at a news conference on Monday that Chicago police officers recovered 113 guns over the weekend, which is up 22% as compared to last year’s …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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