OAKLAND (KCBS) – An undercover operation between the Oakland Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives targeting guns and drugs has resulted in 60 suspects being charged or indicted, according to authorities.

Scot Thomasson, an acting ATF special agent in charge said the four-month action called “Operation Gideon III” was aimed at “the worst of the worst offenders” who authorities believe are responsible for most of the gun-related violence in Oakland.

KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:

Undercover officers, many from other parts of the country, infiltrated known robbery gangs in Oakland.

Speaking at a news conference at the federal building in Oakland Tuesday, Thomasson said the people who were arrested generally engaged in drug robberies and money stashes but also “had no regard for the lives of others and all too often are responsible for the deaths of innocent bystanders.”

“We believe we have removed some of the most violent criminal offenders from the streets of Oakland,” Thomasson said.

U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said the operation resulted in the seizure of about 4 kilograms of methamphetamine, 3 kilograms of marijuana, 1 kilogram of heroin and a half-kilogram of crack cocaine.

Haag said some of the people arrested face federal charges such as conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute narcotics, attempting to interfere with interstate commerce through robbery, unlawful dealing in firearms and assaulting federal agents.

Alameda County Chief Assistant District Attorney Kevin Dunleavy said the others arrested will face state charges for illegal possession of drugs and guns as well as probation violations.

Along with the arrests, 92 guns were seized in the operation. Investigators are still trying to pinpoint exactly where the guns are coming from.

Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan said the arrests have resulted in a significant drop in homicides in his city over the past month.

Jordan said the tipping point in pursuing this operation was the death of three toddlers in the city last year.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said the arrests “have given a breather to the people in our neighborhoods” and that she hopes this will “change the pattern of violence for a long time.”

Congresswoman Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, said she hoped the operation, which follows up on similar operations in Phoenix and San Diego, will help “eradicate the flow of illegal firearms in Oakland.”

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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