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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Alabama

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Twenty-two People Charged With Firearm And Drug Violations In Tuscaloosa

TUSCALOOSA -- Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents working with local and state partners today completed a roundup of 22 individuals charged with violating federal and state firearms and narcotics laws, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance, ATF Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Fulton, Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steven D. Anderson and Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Lt. Andy Norris.

This on-going law enforcement partnership has led to the indictment of 20 individuals on federal charges and two individuals on state charges. Six of the 22 defendants were arrested today in the Tuscaloosa area.

"Today ATF partnered with the Tuscaloosa Police Department and the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office to take some of the worst offenders off the streets in areas that have become saturated with violent crime," Vance said. "As Americans, we all have Second Amendment rights, but this does not mean we should or will tolerate the use of firearms by criminals. People in our community who use guns to commit violent acts or to further drug crimes need to know there are federal prison cells waiting on them," she said.

"ATF's Frontline strategy utilizes every available resource to make our communities a safer place to live," Fulton said. "Violent criminals and gang members continue to use firearms as their tools of the trade to prey upon communities," he said.

"The Tuscaloosa Police Department is pleased to get these offenders out of our community and see them be held responsible for the crimes they have committed," Anderson said . "This has been an ongoing investigation and we are thankful that the U.S. Attorney's Office is prosecuting the cases. Working with the ATF and other law enforcement agencies to keep Tuscaloosa a safe community will always be a top priority," he said.

Thirteen people were arrested in the operation before today. Three remain to be arrested.

Arrested today were:

Matthew Sims, 27, McCalla.
Michael Barrett, 42, Gordo.
Florencewel Welch, 38, Tuscaloosa.
Timothy Wooley, 20, Tuscaloosa.
Raregus Rice, 29, Tuscaloosa.
LaJohnagan Sterling, 22, Tuscaloosa.

Updated March 19, 2015