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Press Release

Des Moines Police Department Special Enforcement Team Secures Over 20 Federal Indictments, Seizes 71 Guns

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Iowa

The Des Moines Police Department and the United States Attorney’s Office announced the results of a summer enforcement effort, which took dozens of guns off the street and resulted in federal indictments against multiple violent criminals in Des Moines.

The Des Moines Police Department Special Enforcement Team operated from April to October 2019. During that time, the team’s investigations led to over 20 federal indictments for gun- and drug-related crimes, and the seizure of 71 guns from Des Moines’s streets. These prosecutions are part of a series of local, state, and federal efforts known as Project Safe Neighborhoods.

“Project Safe Neighborhoods is more than just a concept,” said Des Moines Police Chief Dana Wingert. “In Des Moines, it has developed into a highly effective crime fighting strategy. United States Attorney Marc Krickbaum and his staff have taken a hardline stance on prosecuting our most violent criminals, particularly gun offenders, in an effort to reduce violent crime in our neighborhoods. To date, the effect has been dramatic, and this working relationship is poised to continue these efforts long into the future. In many larger cities across the country, efforts such as this may seem to have less of an impact on overall violent crime numbers. In Des Moines, the results are real and the crimes trends validate the impact.”

In announcing the results of this effort in Des Moines, United States Attorney Marc Krickbaum noted that, “What’s impressive about the work of the Special Enforcement Team is not just the volume of cases—which has been amazing—but also the quality of those cases. We’re arresting and charging the right people.”

One example is United States v. Xzavier Justin Lee Clark, case number 4:19-cr-138. In July 2019, Clark led Des Moines officers on a high-speed chase, during which he tossed a loaded handgun out of a car. He pleaded guilty to being a drug user in possession of a firearm. At a sentencing hearing scheduled for February 13, 2020, the government expects to present evidence linking Clark to multiple acts of violence in the Des Moines area.

Another case is United States v. Kaytjuan Tyrez Gibbs & Devon Laron Williams, case number 4:19-cr-103. Gibbs and Williams have pleaded guilty to being drug users in possession of firearms, and sentencing for both is scheduled for January 31, 2020. Between September 2018 and May 2019, Gibbs and Williams were involved in a series of gun-related crimes in Des Moines, including possession of at least six firearms, several of which were stolen, and one of which had an obliterated serial number to prevent it from being traced.

“In the past few years our office in Des Moines has substantially increased prosecutions of violent criminals, with a focus on those who illegally use and possess guns,” said United States Attorney Krickbaum. “That has been possible only because of our partnerships with law enforcement, which are as strong today as they have ever been.” Krickbaum added, “Des Moines PD has been front and center in this fight, joined by ATF, FBI, and other local, state, and federal agencies. Our united effort is making a difference in Des Moines.”

The public is reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless they are proven guilty.

These enforcement actions and partnerships are part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally based strategies to reduce violent crime. To learn more about Project Safe Neighborhoods, go to


Rachel J. Scherle

Updated November 4, 2019

Project Safe Neighborhoods