A federal investigation has led to 17 arrests and nearly 100 illegal guns being taken off of the streets in South Mississippi.
This week, federal, state and local law enforcement on the Mississippi Gulf Coast are executing numerous arrest warrants in and around Jackson County, including a number of individuals indicted and arrested on federal criminal charges, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst, Special Agent in Charge Dana Nichols with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, and Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell.
The investigation involved over 30 controlled purchases of illegal firearms and drugs. According to a news release, the investigation “targeted follow-ups and interviews driven by and based upon intelligence and evidence gathered, and coordination prosecutors and officers to prioritize and marshal resources towards the worst criminal offenders in these communities.”
This collaborative effort has resulted in the indictment by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of 17 defendants on gun charges, half of whom have already pled guilty or have indicated they will be pleading guilty.
97 illegal firearms were purchased or seized in this initiative, including a firearm that had been stolen out of a marked police car. 20 of these illegal firearms were either reported stolen or had obliterated serial numbers.
“The arrests this week are the result of months of hard work by special agents, officers, and prosecutors to take violent criminals off our streets and put them in jail where they belong,” said U.S. Attorney Hurst. Today’s announcement, coupled with the significant increase in the number of indictments throughout the Southern District Mississippi, should serve as warning to criminals on the Coast and throughout Mississippi – you will be caught, you will be prosecuted, and you will be punished for your crimes. You can expect to see a lot more of us in the coming months, as we expand our crime fighting efforts, help law-abiding citizens take back their communities and make the Coast safe again.”
The South Mississippi Metropolitan Enforcement Team is a partnership between the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and the police departments of the cities of Moss Point, Pascagoula, Ocean Springs, and Gautier, with the goal to eliminate illegal narcotics from Jackson County by investigating complaints of illegal narcotics activity, arresting illegal narcotics offenders and aid in the criminal prosecution of these offenders.
The FBI Safe Streets Task Force is a Gulf Coast High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area initiative and receives funding from the Office of National Drug Control Policy in Washington, D.C. It is made up of special agents from the FBI and law enforcement officers from the Pascagoula, Moss Point, Gautier and Ocean Springs Police Departments, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, and U.S. Border Patrol.