Authorities all across the United States claim to be serious about stopping gang violence. Often several different law enforcement agencies will team up to take down alleged gangsters. In a recent bust in the state of Minnesota, five different agencies worked together in a sting that led to 11 people facing federal gun crime charges.
In mid-November, indictments were filed based on an investigation into alleged gang activity. Eleven people are accused of a variety of charges, including buying guns illegally and illegally distributing them to known felons, Police say that they recovered 18 weapons during the course of the investigation. In addition to the firearms charges, the indictments accuse the alleged gangsters and known associates of selling drugs, theft and robbery. They believe that the accused individuals were using the profits from the illegal activities to purchase guns.
The sting operation was carried out by the authorities in hopes of ending violence that is being blamed on various gangs in the Minneapolis area. While officials believe that some of those included in the indictment have taken part in other incidents in the area, some are already either awaiting trial on other charges or are already in jail or prison due to prior convictions. If those who are already serving time are convicted, they will likely end up serving extended sentences.
While the bust was a boon to the law enforcement agencies that took part, it has likely been a much different experience for those indicted. Fortunately, they, like all accused of crimes in Minnesota, have the right to defend themselves against the federal charges leveled against them. Even those who have been previously convicted of a similar gun crime must still be viewed as innocent before the court unless and until proven otherwise.
Source: MPR News, “Twin Cities gang sweep nets 11 on gun, violence charges“, Brandt Williams, Nov. 21, 2014