Local/State

Justice Dept. joins Philadelphia war on crime

Monday, July 23, 2012

The City of Philadelphia has a new ally in its war on violent crime: the U.S. Department of Justice.

Attorney General Eric Holder joined Mayor Nutter Monday in announcing the partnership. ..and its already producing results.. Action news' Nora Muchanic has more on that.

After watching and listening to wiretaps, ATF agents and Philadelphia Police arrested eight men last Wednesday in a raid at 61st and Passyunk. Authorities say the suspects were planning to violently rob a rival drug dealer.

"These individuals have been involved in things like attempted murder, aggravated assault, murder, home invasions, armed carjacking, armed robberies," said ATF spokeswoman Sheree Mixell.

That raid and others are the result of a partnership that's sent a surge of more than 50 federal agents from the FBI, ATF, DEA and other agencies who are focusing on violence and gun crimes in targeted areas.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder calls it a highly coordinated effort to cut the city's rising violent crime rate.

"To bolster analysis and intelligence capabilities and help plan and create sophisticated criminal investigations as well as prosecutions," said Holder.

The 4-month-long "surge" of federal law enforcement here is using technology and intelligence gathering to target violent criminal and drug organizations.

"Then you'll be able to work and try to take out the entire organization from the head to the entire distribution network and even the lower levels," said Vito Guarino of the DEA.

Officials say they're already getting results. They're six weeks in to this and have already seized over 80 firearms and made more than 300 arrests.

"We are coming for you and we're going to take you away for a long period of time," said Nutter.

"The level of violence in Philadelphia is extraordinary when compared with other cities in the U.S. and the citizens of Philadelphia deserve more," said U.S. Attorney Zane Memeger.

Officials say a similar surge in Oakland, California produced a significant drop in crime. That's what they're hoping for here.

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philadelphia, drugs, local/state, nora muchanic
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