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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of Alabama
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Four Individuals Arrested During Joint Law Enforcement Operation in Tuscaloosa County

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – A 3-month operation focused on combatting the illegal possession of “Glock switches” in the City of Tuscaloosa and surrounding areas resulted in the arrests of four individuals, announced U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent in Charge Marcus Watson.

“Possession of a ‘Glock switch’ by an individual is a threat to the peace and safety of our communities. Our hope is that these arrests and continuing enforcement efforts across North Alabama will have a deterrent effect,” said U.S. Attorney Prim Escalona. “Our ongoing collaboration with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners is instrumental in reducing violent crime and removing illegal firearms from our communities.”

“This operation demonstrates the effectiveness of working together to confront a growing threat to public safety,” said Tuscaloosa Police Chief Brent Blankley. “Combining resources to enforce and prosecute offenders is the most effective way to stop the threat before it becomes more widespread. These partnerships between federal, state, and local agencies will strengthen our efforts to remove dangerous firearms from our community.”

In February, nine individuals were indicted on firearm charges. Of the nine, seven individuals were indicted on charges of illegal possession of machine gun conversion devices, commonly referred to as a “Glock switch” and two individuals were indicted on charges involving straw purchases of firearms. The federal indictments are the result of collaborative efforts with the ATF, Tuscaloosa Police Department, Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, and Tuscaloosa District Attorney’s Office to identify and focus enforcement on individuals who illegally possess “Glock switches” and firearms in the Northern District of Alabama.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

An indictment contains only charges. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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