ATF

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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

May 28, 2009

www.atf.gov

Remarks by Acting Assistant Director Mark Chait

Violent Crime Impact Team “Operation Tourniquet”

Good afternoon.

I appreciate the opportunity of being here.

Today’s law enforcement effort is a phenomenal example of the great use of resources and task force synergy.

I would like to thank the men and women of law enforcement in Baltimore for your tireless work over the past year, and for making Baltimore a safer place today.

I would especially like to thank Colonel Dean Palmere, of the Baltimore City Police Department, Violent Crimes Impact Division for all of the police department’s efforts, resources, and true commitment to this investigation.

ATF developed the Violent Crime Impact Team strategy, known simply as vee-sit, for enforcement actions just like today’s here in Baltimore.

VCITs are the only federally-led, firearms-related violent crime reduction strategies designed to disrupt, dismantle and remove the worst of the worst offenders and their criminal organizations from your neighborhoods.

ATF special agents and federal resources, partnering with state and local law enforcement counterparts, like the Baltimore Police Department, work on the Baltimore VCIT to investigate and arrest violent, habitual, street-level offenders, like the PDL Bloods gang members apprehended today.

These PDL members allegedly are known to have a lengthy history of violence.

“Operation Tourniquet” shut off the flow of these Bloods and brought them to justice.

This was not a single homegrown gang from the city of Baltimore; rather, it was a number of independently functioning sets who operated as a unit under their California gang leadership.

Today’s coast-to-coast operation dismantled several gang sets whose members promoted violence to secure the sanctity of their organization in this area — while being directed by Bloods leadership in California.

No longer will these felons intimidate and control neighborhoods as they ply their drug trade.

Our message to the criminal element is clear: If you use a gun to murder, rob or intimidate another person, in the name of loyalty to the gang, ATF and its law enforcement partners will shine the light of justice on your criminal actions.

ATF’s Baltimore VCIT comprises ATF gun units and the Baltimore Police Department. As a result of their efforts, and as reported just this week, violent crime is down in the city of Baltimore.

Since 2004, ATF’s Violent Crime Impact Team has put over 100 of the city’s most violent offenders behind bars.

In fact, the average sentence of a VCIT defendant in Baltimore, the last two years, is more than 350 months in federal prison. That’s nearly 30 years of hard time that they will serve.

We watched. We listened. We documented and we arrested the worst of the worst criminals in your communities, for their illegal activities.

Our commitment and resolve has been solid and unwavering. The arrests in Maryland and California show how we build a thorough, methodical, and comprehensive investigation.

Violent gang members have no place in our communities. We want the members of the Bloods, and every violent gang member throughout the United States to know this: Membership in a violent gang does not have its privileges.

Thank you.