Updated 12:39 p.m.
At a press conference Thursday morning, both local and federal officials gathered to share the results of a coordinated effort to tackle violent crime in St. Louis and East St. Louis.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Attorneys offices in both Southern Illinois and Eastern Missouri, along with state and local law enforcement began the push April 1.
Dubbed the “Violent Crime Reduction Partnership," it used undercover operations and other investigative tools to nab prior felons who continue to possess firearms.
During the partnership period the following were seized:
- A total of 267 firearms
- More than 25 ounces of methamphetamine
- More than 3 pounds of crack cocaine/cocaine
- More than 7 pounds of marijuana, and
- More than 1.5 pounds of heroin were purchased or seized.
Acting Director of the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Bureau Todd Jones says the St. Louis area was the seventh surge the ATF has done in the last six months throughout the U.S.
"We’re not here in St. Louis metropolitan area, East St. Louis, Illinois willy nilly,” Jones said. “I think that the intelligence, the statistics show that there are hot spots in this geographic area.”
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay praised the operation saying it would make the city safer. But the mayor used the opportunity to discuss establishing an armed offender docket, which would require higher bond for gun crime defendants and what Slay called “appropriate” prison time.
“The revolving door has to stop,” Slay said.
159 individuals in Missouri and Illinois were indicted in the effort. On July 10 over 150 law enforcement officers searched for the remaining defendants who were not already in custody.
Where are these 159 defendants being prosecuted?
- 99 are being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri
- 47 are being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois
- 11 are being prosecuted by the St. Louis City Circuit Attorney’s Office,
- 1 is being prosecuted by the St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s Office, and
- 1 is being prosecuted by the Madison County State's Attorney's Office.
As a whole, the defendants have been the subjects of 1,718 felony arrests and 78 percent of the defendants are previously convicted felons.
Follow Maria Altman on Twitter: @radioaltman