Federal Prosecutors in LA to Coordinate Firearms Trafficking Strike Forces

Department of Justice sign, Washington DC, USA

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The U.S. Department of Justice today launched five cross-jurisdictional strike forces -- including one in the Los Angeles area -- to help reduce gun violence by disrupting illegal firearms trafficking in key regions across the country.

Leveraging existing resources, the regional strike forces will better ensure sustained and focused coordination across jurisdictions and help stem the supply of illegally trafficked firearms from source cities, through other communities, and into five key market regions: Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, the San Francisco Bay Area/Sacramento and Washington, D.C.

Each strike force region will be led by local federal prosecutors, who will collaborate with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; state and local law enforcement partners in their district; and law enforcement partners in areas where illegally trafficked guns originate. These law enforcement partners will use the latest data, evidence and intelligence from crime scenes to identify patterns, leads and potential suspects in violent gun crimes.

“All too often, guns found at crime scenes come from hundreds or even thousands of miles away,'' Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in a statement. “We are redoubling our efforts as ATF works with law enforcement to track the movement of illegal firearms used in violent crimes. These strike forces enable sustained coordination across multiple jurisdictions to help disrupt the worst gun trafficking corridors. The Department of Justice will use all of its tools -- enforcement, prevention, intervention and investment – to help ensure the safety of our communities, the department's highest priority.''

According to gun trace data, a significant number of firearms recovered in the Los Angeles region come from other states and are illegally trafficked into Southern California. The new strike force will help ensure sustained and focused coordination between law enforcement and prosecutors in the greater Los Angeles region with their counterparts in locations where many of the firearms originate.

“Reducing the flow of weapons into this region will have an impact in reducing violent crime,'' said Acting U.S. Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison. “Because many of the firearms used in crimes come from states that also supply Northern California, our strike force will work closely with the law enforcement officials associated with the strike force based in Northern California, as well as our colleagues in San Diego.''

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