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October 23, 2012 at 3:44 PM

33 arrested in South King Co. gang, firearms probe

A three-month investigation into gang violence, and drug and firearms sales in South King County and South Seattle resulted in the arrest of 33 people and the seizure of 28 firearms, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The so-called “Hot Spot” initiative also resulted in the seizure of 14 pounds of methamphetamine, as well as cocaine and heroin, from the targeted communities of South Seattle, Kent, Renton and Tukwila, U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan said today.

“Drug trafficking, and the violent crime it spawns, is not limited to our urban areas,” Durkan said in a news release. “We must make our neighborhoods places for people to thrive. ‘Hot spot’ initiatives such as this seek to identify and root out the bad actors who are making our communities unsafe.”

The initiative was led by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement and included local law enforcement. agencies, including Kent and Seattle police.

Kent police Chief Ken Thomas said that officers went undercover and worked with informants during the course of the investigation.

Thomas believes the arrests will have a big impact on the area because law enforcement “went after primarily upper level gang members.”

“We need prevention and intervention to deal with the gang problem, but we need these upper-level, worst of of the worst, bad guys off the streets for these programs to really work,” Thomas said.

Last year, federal and local law enforcement agencies conducted a similar inititative in White Center after the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council and the White Center/Delridge Safety Coalition complained about crime in the area. That operation resulted in more than 50 arrests, including 23 people charged federally with firearms, drug-dealing and drug-possession offenses; the seizure of 51 pounds of methamphetamine and 12 pounds of crack and powder cocaine; and the seizure of 68 firearms.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: ATF, Jenny Durkan, U.S. Attorney's Office

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