WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - The U.S. Department of Justice has launched a strike force in D.C. to help reduce gun violence by disrupting illegal firearms trafficking.
Leveraging existing resources, regional strike forces will better ensure sustained and focused coordination across jurisdictions. They will also stem the supply of illegally trafficked firearms from source cities, through other communities and into four other key market regions: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area/Sacramento Region.
Each strike force region will be led by designated United States Attorneys, who will collaborate with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and with state and local law enforcement partners, as well as law enforcement partners in areas where illegally trafficked guns originate.
These officials will use the latest data, evidence, and intelligence from crime scenes to identify patterns, leads, and potential suspects in violent gun crimes.
"All too often, guns found at crime scenes come from hundreds or even thousands of miles away. We are redoubling our efforts as ATF works with law enforcement to track the movement of illegal firearms used in violent crimes. These strike forces enable sustained coordination across multiple jurisdictions to help disrupt the worst gun trafficking corridors," said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. "The Department of Justice will use all of its tools – enforcement, prevention, intervention, and investment – to help ensure the safety of our communities – the department’s highest priority."
According to gun trace data, a significant number of firearms recovered in Washington, D.C. originate from outside the city. The Department’s new initiative will help ensure more effective coordination between law enforcement and prosecutors in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, including in the Eastern District of Virginia, with their counterparts in locations where many of the firearms originate.
"Through our participation in the cross-jurisdictional strike force, EDVA will bring to justice gun traffickers and others who enable this tragic cycle of violence. We will also amplify our community engagement efforts to continue building the degree of trust that is required for positive and lasting change to occur," said acting U.S. Attorney Raj Parekh. "Because many of the firearm source locations for the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area overlap with the source locations for firearms recovered in the New York City area, we will work closely with our New York City counterparts to help make our communities safer for everyone."