Forty-One Charged with Illegal Trafficking, Possession, and Use of Firearms, Drug Trafficking and Conspiracy Offenses as a Result of Summer Violent Crime Reduction Effort “Operation Big Easy” in New Orleans
This week, Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Lisa O. Monaco traveled to New Jersey and New York to highlight the Justice Department’s comprehensive strategy to reduce violent crime through a combination of enforcement as well as meaningful community engagement to prevent and deter crime before it happens.
In New Jersey, DAG Monaco visited the U.S. Attorney’s Office and attended a National Night Out event. At the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the DAG met with Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael Honig and the leadership of the office along with federal law enforcement leaders from the FBI, DEA and ATF. On Tuesday evening, DAG Monaco attended Newark, New Jersey’s annual National Night Out (NNO) event hosted by the Newark Public Safety Department where she had the opportunity to meet with local law enforcement officers, community leaders and Newark residents. The goal of NNO, a nation-wide campaign, is to connect law enforcement and neighbors in a positive setting. At the Newark NNO, the DAG heard directly from residents and law enforcement about community-led efforts to prevent violent crime and to build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
Today, DAG Monaco participated in a press conference at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York to highlight the Department’s efforts to go after and dismantle illegal gun trafficking networks. The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced the unsealing of charges against several defendants for their involvement in an illegal scheme to traffic guns from Georgia for resale to residents of New York. While the charges are a result of an investigation that predates last month’s launch by the Department of gun trafficking Strike Forces, the case exemplifies the type of coordinated, multi-jurisdictional efforts needed to combat violent crime. Alongside U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss, ATF Special Agent in Charge John B. DeVito, and New York Police Department Inspector Brian Gil, DAG Monaco spoke of the Department’s efforts to reduce violent crime and the gun violence that is often at the core of the problem.
Following the press conference, DAG Monaco participated in a meeting of the newly launched New York area gun trafficking strike force to discuss joint efforts to target and dismantle gun trafficking networks funneling firearms into the New York area. Participants in the meeting included: the U.S. Attorneys from the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, the District of New Jersey, the Northern District of Georgia, the Eastern District of Virginia and the District of South Carolina and executives of the ATF, DEA, FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, as well as the New York Police Department. The conversation centered around what the Department’s firearms trafficking strike force is seeing along known trafficking corridors to the New York City region and how to best combat violent crime overall.
Immediately following the strike force meeting, DAG Monaco, U.S. Attorney Strauss, Acting U.S. Attorney Kasulis for the Eastern District of New York, and SAC DeVito visited the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) facility, which houses ATF’s Crime Gun Intelligence Center (CGIC) – an innovative partnership of federal, state and local law enforcement that fuses ATF’s crime gun intelligence with local law enforcement data to combat gun violence. There, DAG Monaco received a briefing on the CGIC’s efforts to trace firearms and ballistics from crime scenes to identify sources of illegal firearms and to identify illegal firearm trafficking corridors. This is the next step in the firearms tracing process that she was briefed on when visiting the ATF’s Mobile Crime Command Center in Washington, D.C., in late July.
“The partnership here at the CGIC, bringing our collective expertise and an all-hands-on-deck approach is what it’s going to take to solve this problem, along with creative and innovative thinking, which is all happening here,” DAG Monaco told members of the CGIC. “I applaud you all for bringing your teams together to one collaborative space to go after the sources of gun violence.”
While she was in New York, the DAG also visited the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan to get a first-hand look at its operations and infrastructure given ongoing concerns. She plans to have further meetings about the facility after her return to Washington.