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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

ATF Press Release

Contact: Corey Ray, ATF Public Information Officer
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Law Enforcement Agencies Announce Outcome of 90-Day Initiative Aimed at Decreasing Violent Crime

Agencies target drug trafficking and gun crimes in Winston-Salem

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives today joined the Winston-Salem Police Department, Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, and other law enforcement partners to announce the results of a 90-day public safety initiative aimed at combating violent crime. The initiative helped area law enforcement seize narcotics, cash, and more than 70 firearms from across the Winston-Salem area.

Launched on Oct. 3, 2022, ATF and law enforcement partners coordinated a NIBIN-Based Enforcement Initiative within the city. NBEI is a strategy centered around the agency’s National Integrated Ballistic Information Network. NIBIN helps law enforcement connect ballistic evidence found at crime scenes to other shootings, linking incidents together to better identify the shooters.

“Our goal for this operation was to utilize every resource we have on-hand to decrease the level of violent crime we’re seeing in the area,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Charlotte Field Division Bennie Mims. “That included ballistics tracing and our NIBIN system. The information we receive from ballistics tracing is similar to what we learn from fingerprints at a crime scene and helps agencies identify the firearms being used on our streets. More important, it often leads us straight to the trigger-pullers using those firearms.”

Agents and officers coordinated more than 150 successful operations during the initiative that focused on identifying and apprehending individuals believed to be responsible for drug trafficking, illegal firearms possession, and violent gun crime. Over the span of the investigation, approximately 70 defendants were identified and arrested, with more than half of those apprehended facing federal charges. More than 400 items were seized as evidence, including 4,300 grams of methamphetamine, 5,700 grams of fentanyl, 6,700 grams of marijuana, and 1,600 grams of cocaine. Of the more than 70 firearms recovered, nine were linked to nearly 30 violent crimes that have occurred in the area.

“Our Task Force Officers are continually working to keep the citizens of Winston-Salem safe,” said Winston-Salem Police Chief William Penn, Jr. “I'm proud of our multi-agency partnership to proactively combat gun violence in our city. I think it's important for citizens to know that we are constantly strategizing how to attack gun violence. Even if they don't see it, our men and women are doing everything possible to keep our communities safe.”

“The success of this initiative proves - yet again - that we are unquestionably stronger, safer, and better when we work together,” said Forsyth County Sheriff Bobby F. Kimbrough, Jr.

The U.S. Marshals and the North Carolina National Guard CounterDrug Program also assisted in the operations carried out across the area. Agencies plan to keep the initiative in place as an on-going strategy to help address violent crime and drug-trafficking.

“This strategy is working and we’re proud of the results,” said Mims. “Other cities have noticed the impact as well and I’m confident we’ll see this initiative used as a template and implemented in areas across the country that are facing similar public safety issues.”

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