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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Eastern District of California

For Immediate Release

April 23, 2013

Benjamin B. Wagner, United States Attorney

Contact: Lauren Horwood
(916) 554-2706

Multi-Agency Operation Targets Violent Crime in Stockton, California

55 Persons Charged; 84 Firearms Seized

STOCKTON, CALIF. — The results of a long-term proactive enforcement operation targeting violent crime in the Stockton area were announced today by U.S. Attorney FOR THE Eastern District of California Benjamin B. Wagner; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Riehl; Chief of the Stockton Police Department Eric Jones and San Joaquin County District Attorney James P. Willett, during a press conference in Stockton.

“Operation Gideon IV” is an ATF multi-layered initiative designed to target and remove violent criminals who illegally traffic and possess firearms and to dismantle criminal organizations operating in Stockton. Experienced undercover ATF special agents from throughout the U.S. were deployed with local ATF agents and Stockton police officers to conduct covert investigations into some of the most violent criminals in Stockton and surrounding areas.

ATF worked hand in hand for several months with prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office. As a result of this partnership, 44 defendants have been charged with variety of federal firearms, narcotics and robbery offenses and 11 more have been charged with various state offenses. Many of the defendants charged as part of this operation have lengthy criminal records. More arrests are anticipated in the near future.

The operation also resulted in the seizure of 84 firearms, including six machine guns, four short-barrel rifles and two silencers. Law enforcement also recovered approximately 36 pounds of methamphetamine, 21 pounds of marijuana, 10 ounces of MDMA, 100 grams of heroin and 55 grams of crack cocaine.

“Stockton sought our help and we were eager to provide it,” said U.S. Attorney Wagner. “As a result of this sustained, focused operation, 55 of the most dangerous people in Stockton and Modesto are being taken off the streets. This operation is concluding, but our joint effort to combat violent crime in these areas is not. We have made a long-term commitment to support Stockton’s efforts through the Ceasefire partnership to reduce violence. Violent gangs and their members should be aware that future violence will also be met with similar enforcement and prosecution efforts.”

ATF, utilizing our newly developed Frontline Initiative, deployed highly skilled ATF agents to target the worst of the worst violent offenders in Stockton,” said Special Agent in Charge Riehl. “This operation will have a lasting impact on public safety because of the great partnership created with the Stockton Police Department and other agencies that have a mutual vested interest in the quality of life here. Our job is not finished and we are committed to persevere in our efforts to help clean up the criminal element in and around Stockton.”

Stockton Police Chief Jones stated: “As a police department and partnership, the community’s desire to reduce violence is our number one priority. This means that violence will always be met by local and federal agencies working closely together to target violent gangs and individuals with serious charges and serious time. These enforcement actions and prosecutions under Gideon IV were in support of the Department’s Ceasefire Partnership.”

District Attorney Willet said: “I want to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office and ATF for this very successful operation. The U.S. Attorney and ATF answered Stockton’s call for help. Through "Operation Gideon IV,’ undercover ATF agents, working in conjunction with Stockton police officers, have removed over 50 violent criminals from the streets of Stockton.”

The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jason Hitt, Michael McCoy, Olusere Olowoyeye, Justin Lee, Paul Hemesath, Christiaan Highsmith, Kimberly Sanchez and Laurel Montoya of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California and Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephan Collins of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska.

The charges in the indictments and criminal complaints are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.