Dozens arrested on gun and drug charges


U.S. Attorney Tammy Dickinson, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, and police chief Darryl Forte announced multiple arrests in a major crime sweep.

The arrest of dozens on drug and gun charges after a vast Kansas City undercover investigation was a first, but officials say it won’t be the last.

see a photo gallery of remaining fugitives below

The action sends a message on the power of the new No Violence Alliance, officials said at a press conference today announcing 61 indictments.

NoVA’s goal is to reduce the number of murders and shootings in Kansas City.

“We are bringing the full weight of our resources to bear on the level of violence in Kansas City,” said Tammy Dickinson, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri.

Federal officers, Kansas City police and federal and county prosecutors worked together on the investigation that resulted in 61 indictments.

“This is the largest federal round-up ever conducted in this district as the result of a single investigation,” Dickinson said. “We are taking dozens of violent criminals off the street and hundreds of illegal guns out of circulation.”

All but 12 of those charged are in custody, with many arrested in the last three days. Two thirds of the 61 indicted have prior felony convictions and half are on probation or parole.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said, “These are individuals who are thumbing their noses at the justice system.”

The goal “was to remove the worst of the worst,” said Marino F. Vidoli, special agent in charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ Kansas City office.

Agents seized 222 firearms that included handguns, assault rifles and sawed-off shotguns. Some have been used in other violent crimes, including unsolved murders. Authorities also  seized or purchased many kinds of illegal drugs.

Police Chief Darryl Forté said violent criminals can expect more of the same from the alliance that became active this year.

“We’re still in the beginning stages of this,” he said. “We’re getting this message out: No more.”

Dickinson said she will file federal charges, with their harsher prison sentences, in cases that NoVA targets with the help of police intelligence and UMKC researchers.

But officials also stressed the other side of NoVA – a chance to get things like drug treatment, GED training, temporary housing and other help to escape crime.

“We’re not just saying stop,” Forté said, “we’re saying come over to us and help us stop the violence in Kansas City.”

Peters Baker said, “The federal stick will be available to them if they chose to go down that violent path but there is another way.”

After the press conference she and the others left to go to the homes of some of those who did not show up at a recent NoVA group discussion aimed at persuading people to leave crime.

Of 120 called to appear, only 38 showed up. As the power of the stick becomes more evident, officials hope more will attend future call-ins.

NoVA released these photos of remaining fugatives.


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