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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Missouri

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Multi-State Partnership Targets Violent Crime

159 Individuals Charged - 267 Firearms Seized

St. Louis, MO/EAST ST. LOUIS, IL - The results of a first of its kind partnership targeting violent crime in St. Louis, MO and East St. Louis, IL was unveiled this morning during a joint press conference held by U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri Richard Callahan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois Stephen R. Wigginton, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Acting Director B. Todd Jones, City of St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay and St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief D. Samuel Dotson III.

This initiative, dubbed the Violent Crime Reduction Partnership (VCRP), resulted in the indictments of 159 individuals in both Missouri and Illinois. The defendants have been charged with a variety of federal and state firearms, narcotics and robbery offenses.

Beginning in April 2013, more than 80 ATF personnel from throughout the country were working in the cities of St. Louis and East St. Louis. To combat the high rate of violent crime in these cities, the agents worked together with the U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the Eastern District of Missouri and the Southern District of Illinois, the Illinois State Police, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and other federal, state and local partners. The initiative utilized multiple investigative techniques, including undercover operations, historical investigation and prosecutions of multi-convicted felons in possession of firearms.

As a result of this effort, a total of 267 firearms, more than 25 ounces of methamphetamine, more than 3 pounds of crack cocaine/cocaine, more than 7 pounds of marijuana and more than 1½ pounds of heroin were purchased or seized. On July 10, 2013, over 150 law enforcement officers searched for the remaining defendants who were not already in custody.  Those not arrested at the time of this release are now considered fugitives.

Of the 159 defendants, 99 are being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri, 47 are being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois, 11 are being prosecuted by the St. Louis City Circuit Attorney’s Office, 1 is being prosecuted by the St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s Office and 1 is being prosecuted by the Madison County State's Attorney's Office. As a whole, the defendants have been the subjects of 1,718 felony arrests and 78% of the defendants are previously convicted felons.

"Statistically, East St. Louis, Illinois, is the most violent city in America.  The law-abiding citizens of East St. Louis, not to mention all of the law-biding citizens of all of Southern Illinois, are grateful for the very intense and dangerous work spearheaded by ATF, and done in conjunction with ATF’s federal and local law enforcement partners, in this intense surge of enforcement, to seek out, disrupt and prosecute those violent and dangerous offenders who make life intolerable for the rest of us," said Stephen R. Wigginton, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois.  "Attorney General Holder, in setting the Department of Justice’s main priorities, has said, ‘We will protect Americans from violent crime.’  The promise made in that priority has been fulfilled in these law enforcement actions taken by the brave and dedicated men and women of the ATF and their partners,” added United States Attorney Wigginton.

"Today’s work is by no means finished. ATF will continue to work with our partners to identify and target those responsible for the violence that has plagued St. Louis and East St. Louis.  As we take these individuals off the streets, we in law enforcement are sending a powerful message that the violence these individuals bring will not be tolerated,” said ATF Acting Director B. Todd Jones.

Mayor Francis Slay, City of St. Louis said, "This is one of the most significant law enforcement operations in our city in the last decade. It will result in less crime and less violence in our City.  Its impact will be felt for some time to come.  Our citizens owe a debt of gratitude to everyone involved, especially the law enforcement officers who risked their lives to get these guns off our streets and these dangerous criminals out of our neighborhoods."

"The successful results of this initiative prove that by creating partnerships within law enforcement and cracking down on violent crime, the streets of our cities are safer," said Chief Sam Dotson. "The next step is ensuring that these criminals are prosecuted and sentenced appropriately, sending a message to violent offenders that this behavior is not tolerated."

The VCRP’s core agencies are ATF, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, the Illinois State Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (IL), the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois, the St. Louis City Circuit Attorney’s Office and the St. Clair County (IL) State’s Attorney’s Office. The agencies that also participated in the VCRP are the Drug Enforcement Administration, the St. Louis County Police Department, the St Clair County (IL) Sheriff’s Department, Illinois Department of Corrections Probation and Parole and the United States Marshals Service.  This arrest operation involved law enforcement officers from all of the investigating agencies, along with numerous other law enforcement agencies.

The Eastern District of Missouri cases are being prosecuted under the supervision of Assistant U.S. Attorney Antoinette Decker, Chief of the Violent Crimes Unit.  The Southern District of Illinois cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Deirdre A. Durborow, Violent Crimes Chief; Kit R. Morrissey, Monica Stump, Ali Summers, Steven B. Clark, Daniel Kapsak and Special Assistant United States Attorneys Stephanie Richter and Neal Hong.

This is the ninth multi-month VCRP that ATF personnel have completed throughout the United States. This is the first VCRP that spanned two ATF Field Divisions and two U.S. Attorneys Offices.

These state and federal charges are allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government's burden to prove a defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

Contact Information:

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Porter
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Illinois
(618) 628-3700

Jan Diltz
Public Affairs Officer
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Missouri
(314) 539-7719

Sr. Special Agent Thomas J. Ahern
Public Information Officer
ATF - Chicago Field Division
(312) 846-7228

Special Agent Trista K. Frederick
Public Information Officer
ATF - Kansas City Field Division
(816) 559-0724
(916) 275-4039 (Cell)

Updated March 19, 2015