The sudden drop in violent crime in Stockton over the last four months is perplexing to some, until they consider the 44 arrests and 84 confiscated firearms because of Operation Gideon 4.
The operation was a joint effort between the Stockton Police Department, The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
“[In] 2012, I asked Attorney General Eric Holder for some assistance here in the City of Stockton address our violent crime issue,” Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones said at a press event Tuesday.
That’s when operation began running four months of undercover stings targeting Stockton’s most violent gang members.
“Those areas where people can’t go outside because of shootings or robberies. One of the goals is to identify the individuals who are doing that so we can eliminate them from the community,” ATF Special Agent Joseph Riehl said.
It’s similar to an operation in Oakland last year. Stockton’s sweep resulted in 44 arrests, 36 pounds of meth and 21 pounds of pot pulled of San Joaquin County streets, a popular place for gang members and drug traffickers because of all the nearby freeways.
“People have an opportunity to set up shop here because it gives them a hub to operate out of,” Reihl said.
Federal help means federal court and federal prison, meaning these violent offenders won’t be anywhere near Stockton anytime soon.
“These defendants are going to be dispersed into and sent to prisons all over the country. They’re not going to be here where they’re communicating or calling shots from the inside or talking to their fellow gang members who are just outside the wall,” U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner said.
Operation Gideon 4 will continue in Stockton, though Chief Jones did not say where or when it might fire up again.