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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

January 14, 2011

Contact: Special Agent Christian Hoffman, PIO

(818) 265-2507

Gang Member Sentenced to 20 Years in Federal Prison for Drug Trafficking

LOS ANGELES — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) announced today that on Dec. 7, a Long beach area gang member who was arrested in 2008 as part of a large ATF investigation dubbed Operation Rock Pile was sentenced to 240 months in federal prison for selling crack cocaine by United States District Judge Valerie Fairbank.

Xavier Franklin, 47, who also received 120 months of supervised release was a three time convicted felon in California, and a member of the Grape Street criminal street gang which claims territory in parts of Wilmington and Long Beach. On several separate occasions Franklin sold substantial amounts of crack cocaine to a confidential informant working for ATF.

We are very pleased with the sentences these gang members are receiving for engaging in acts that promote violence in the communities. This goes to show gang members that it's a losing situation belonging to a gang, said John A. Torres, Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Los Angeles Field Division. This sentence should serve as a reminder to people who commit crimes; it's not a question of if, but a question of when law enforcement will catch you.

Operation Rock Pile was an intense four month investigation carried out by ATF and the Long Beach Police Department. Beginning in January 2008, the operation targeted firearms and drug traffickers, in the Long Beach and Wilmington areas. Federal charges were brought against 24 defendants and state charges were brought on an additional 48 defendants. Twenty-two of the federal defendants have already pled guilty and the final two are still in the judicial process.

More information about ATF and its programs is available at