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Oakland brings in federal agents to help get illegal guns off the streets

on May 29, 2012

In an effort to get more illegal guns off the streets of Oakland, the city’s police department is now collaborating with the federal government.

Oakland Police officers have been partnering with agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) on a four-month campaign that targeted robbery crews responsible for much of the violent crime in the city, OPD Chief Howard Jordan said at a press conference on Tuesday morning at the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building.

The enforcement operation resulted in the seizure of 92 firearms, Jordan said, along with three kilograms of methamphetamine, two kilograms of marijuana, one kilogram of heroin and a half kilogram of crack cocaine. A total of 60 people have been either federally indicted or charged by complaint.

“We asked for their assistance in our ongoing effort to reduce firearm violence in our city, and they responded,” Jordan said of the ATF.

At the press conference, Jordan was flanked by U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, whose office brought the charges, as well as Mayor Jean Quan, US Representative Barbara Lee (Ninth district), Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley and ATF Special Agent in Charge Scott L. Thomasson.

Thomasson said ATF agents have been working undercover with OPD officers since February on “organized, covert enforcement operations” that targeted robbery crews that rob places where drug dealers stash drugs and money.

“These were individuals responsible for shootings and most of the violence occurring in the city of Oakland,” Thomasson said. “We tried to identify the worst of the worst criminals in Oakland, and target them.”

Quan said that getting illegal guns off the street has been a priority for her administration. She said people who live in Oakland neighborhoods where most of the violent crime in the city occurs “need a breather”—a reprieve from the violence happening all around them.

Quan praised Jordan for reaching out to the federal government to collaborate. “We now need the community’s help, too,” Quan said. “This group has given the neighborhoods a breather, and the community needs to continue to work with us.”

Lee called the work between OPD and ATF “a model program” and said cities around the country should use it as an example of “how to build collaborative relationships and bring federal resources to the city.”

“I’m very confident that we can ensure Oakland continues to be a great place to live, grow and thrive,” Lee said. “So I have to thank all of you for this effort, and I’m confident it will be sustained.”

Jordan said the operation is ongoing and the next phase will include trying to curb the flow of the illegal gun trade. “Now we know where some of [the guns] are coming from,” Jordan said. “I think the next step is trying to stem them, which will involve a long-term, complex investigation.”


  1. bronc on May 30, 2012 at 2:59 am

    Wow, what a novel idea. The feds helping solve an actual real problem with crime and violence, and not running after guys in wheelchairs who sell weed…

    • Mr Freely on June 14, 2012 at 9:31 am

      The Contra Costa Times interviewed a political analyst who said that the raids on Medical Cannabis groups had solidified opposition against Obama.

      I wonder if the grilling that A.G. Holder got in a recent visit to Congress had anything to do with cannabis raids?

  2. Mr Freely on May 30, 2012 at 11:06 am

    After what the Feds and O.P.D. did to Oaksterdam University Rep. Lee should have issued a press release condemning the raid on Oaksterdam on the same day of the press conference.

    Rep. Lee should introduce a resolution in the House condemning the raid and demanding that U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag be transferred to Alaska.

    • None on June 12, 2012 at 12:56 am

      But my weed is the most important thing! Weed!

      • Mr Freely on June 14, 2012 at 9:25 am

        Please expand on that.

  3. Allan on May 31, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    We have to credit Quan and Jordan with making some progress in calming our city. Good work!

  4. Mr Freely on June 5, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Once again a bland staff pick.

  5. None on June 12, 2012 at 12:55 am

    Wahwahwah my weed! What guns? But my weed! A bloo bloo bloo weed!

    • Mr Freely on June 14, 2012 at 8:53 am

      “bloo bloo bloo”

      It better remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.

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