44 Arrested in Joint Federal and Local Police Action in East Palo Alto
SEP 8--(EAST PALO ALTO , CA) – Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Javier F. Peña, San Mateo County Sheriff Don Horsley, East Palo Alto Police Chief Ron Davis, San Mateo County Supervisor Rose Jacobs Gibson, San Mateo County Narcotics Task Force Commander Mark Wyss, United States Attorney Kevin V. Ryan, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) Assistant Special Agent in Charge Karl Anglin, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Special Agent in Charge Charles H. DeMore, announced today the successful completion of a long-term investigation of crack cocaine and methamphetamine dealers in East Palo Alto. Forty-four individuals were arrested as part of this joint federal and local law enforcement action.
At the request of then interim East Palo Alto Police Chief Steve Belcher, Sheriff Horsley and Supervisor Jacobs Gibson, a special team of agents with the DEA – known as the Mobile Enforcement Team (MET) – were deployed to East Palo Alto. The DEA established the MET Initiative in April 1995, to assist local agencies and prosecutors with stopping violent criminals and organizations causing drug related violence. By working with local agencies to target organizations causing drug-related violence and to arrest key individuals for narcotics trafficking, MET has helped reduce violence in hundreds of communities across America . This MET, deployed out of the DEA’s San Francisco Division, travels to geographic areas throughout Northern California .
In March 2005, the MET team began working with the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department, San Mateo County Narcotics Task Force, East Palo Alto Police Department, the United States Attorney’s Office in San Francisco , the ATF and ICE. The MET initiative continued through September 2005 ending recently with 44 arrests - 17 defendants were charged in federal court, while 27 were charged in state court. Of those arrests, 4 defendants were charged with federal firearms violations, resulting from the seizure of 17 firearms. The remainder of the individuals arrested during this operation were charged with violations of distribution of controlled substances, or possession with intent to distribute controlled substances. Several defendants are allegedly documented street gang members.
Approximately 20 state and federal authorized search warrants were served during this joint enforcement effort. As a result law enforcement seized approximately 6.1 pounds cocaine base, i.e., “crack”, 3.8 pounds cocaine HCL, 2.7 pounds methamphetamine, 3.5 pounds heroin, $129,113 U.S. Currency, 5 vehicles, 12 handguns, 3 rifles and 2 assault rifles. Many of those charged were allegedly operating retail drug distribution sites in locations such as public parks. These locations were frequently the subject of complaints from local residents.
“If we are going to make strides in the battle against drug dealers, we need to hit hard, hit fast, and hit accurately” stated SAC Javier F. Peña. “Close coordination between law enforcement, and the ability to stop these criminals before they commit more crimes is essential if we are going to end the nightmare of drugs on our streets-It was an honor for our MET teams to assist the East Palo Alto police in their efforts to end these nefarious criminal’s careers.”U.S. Attorney Kevin V. Ryan stated, “The violence and drug dealing that has plagued East Palo Alto is a tragedy. I am proud of the teamwork from so many different agencies that has made this operation such a success. I am hopeful that the MET team’s work will result in a decline in the violence and fear that has permeated the area.”