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Valley crime crackdown nets results

Published: Thu, July 29, 2010 @ 12:01 a.m.

By John W. Goodwin JR.




Youngstown and Warren offi cials announce the fi rst wave of federal indictments to come out of the Violence, Gun Reduction Interdiction Program. Officers have confiscated 41 guns and indicted four people since the coordinated local and federal offensive against crime in the Mahoning Valley began July 4.


Det. Sgt Mike Lambert places a Smith and Wesson on a table. Youngstown and Warren officials announce the first wave of federal indictments to come out of the Violence, Gun Reduction Interdiction Program. Officers have confiscated 41 guns and indicted four people since the coordinated local and federal offensive against crime in the Mahoning Valley began July 4.


Officers have confiscated 41 guns and indicted four people since the coordinated local and federal offensive against crime in the Mahoning Valley began July 4.

State, county and city officials say the Violence, Gun Reduction Interdiction Program is working, and they laid out the confiscated guns to prove it.

Officers and others associated with the

V-GRIP program displayed multiple firearms in Youngstown City Council chambers Wednesday. They included automatic assault weapons, sawed-off shotguns and handguns, some of which included sight scopes.

V-GRIP is a joint crime-fighting offensive of several Valley police departments working with the assistance of federal officials.

Mayor Jay Williams said the guns, drugs and other illicit items seized during the program, which went into effect July 4, shows the program’s immediate success.

Police have seized 41 guns to date and have made 150 arrests in Youngstown in the past two weeks and 350 arrests this month in Warren.

Steven Dettelbach, U.S. attorney for Ohio’s Northern District, said the program also is responsible for four indictments.

“The police have been out looking for the worst of the worst who have sought to bring chaos and fear to the region, and [the police] have been successful,” Dettelbach said. “Those who carry illegal firearms in our community have to be a primary target.”

Those indicted after V-GRIP arrests are Lori Ivey, 41, of Youngstown and Damien T. Russ, 34, of Warren, both for illegally carrying a firearm; Donna L. Kasza, 49, of Youngstown, for possession with the intent to distribute crack cocaine, illegal possession of a firearm and carrying a firearm during a drug trafficking crime; and Melvin E. Johnson, 25, of Youngstown for illegal possession of a firearm.

Police Chief Jimmy Hughes said confiscating the type of guns found during V-GRIP patrols will likely prevent future gun crimes .

“These are quality weapons we have removed from the streets,” Hughes said. “These types of weapons stay in the system and are reused in crimes, so it is very important to get them off the streets.”

Officials said most of the guns will be destroyed but not before they are used as evidence in court against those being charged with crimes. Some of the guns are slated for DNA testing.

Hughes said officers may encounter a situation where a gun is stolen and returned to its original owner, but that has not been the case thus far.


1marilyn99(20 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

Aha ha ha ha ha. I always like to hear a good joke now and then and this article is one of the best heard yet. Not meant to reflect the work of the Youngstown Police Department; the officers work hard and at risk everyday to fight crime that riddles the streets of the city. Instead, ii is a reflection of the mamby pamby judicial system that puts criminals back on the street to commit more crimes and, does it frequently and easily. Ha ha ha. Marilyn

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2Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago


Don't think it's so funny. Even ONE of those guns off the streets is a plus. Those guns could've been used on you or someone you love. Good Job V-GRIP and lets get more of these guns and animals off the streets.

I have to agree though on these animals getting right back on the streets, that is something they have to put a stop to right now. Charge them the max instead of a slap on the wrist.

Getting the guns and animals off the streets is the first step and sending them away with the max is the second part.

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3walter_sobchak(2634 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

I didn't know guns had DNA material in them that could be tested since they are not organic!?!

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4Silence_Dogood(1663 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

Why is it that the Feds have to come to town and hold Jimmy Hughes ' hand to have this type of operation done? What was holding him back from doing this last year or the year before? If they can FIND that many illegal guns in just a month why can't Jimmy Hughes find them the other 11 months of the year. All this does is put a GLARING spotlight on the fact that the Police Department is being run by an incompetant person that is in way over his head.

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5Pams5000(4 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

Cameras on the empty houses. You can't keep knocking them down. That is where they are doing their crimnal activities. then they burn them. You keep knocking down those beautiful houses and it starts looking like a mouth without half of it's teeth. You need to get these police to get these thugs and their family's off the streets. When the kids gets arrested, that are under age, Then the parents need to take parenting classes or go to jail for allowing their kids out on the streets without a constructive purposes. Rebuild, protest the courts, don't vote for the bad Judges (that includes family and friends).

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6Stormieangel(136 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

Wow...a lot of guns that have probably already been used in a criminal way. Gun control? That is an interesting issue for what guns do they want to control? I have a right to carry a concealed weapon permit and I believe all LAW-ABIDING citizens should retain this right as guaranteed by the constitution.
From where do these illegal guns come? The 'crooks' will always be able to buy guns from other 'crooks' who will profit by the sale. Who are the ones selling the guns to these unsavory elements in our midst? I am hoping this is another ongoing investigation, by the locals or the feds.
It truly is a scary situation. I agree that the empty houses need to be checked for drug activities going on in them. Do the police do this on a regular basis? If so, wouldn't it seem normal they would be able to get the drug dealers off the street? Another problem is the crowded penal systems in this country.
What is the answer? I surely don't know.

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7Conservatism_Will_Prospers(91 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

There was more emphasis on the guns than the crimes. What are we trying to target here? Guns cannot think for their selves so I would like to know what kind of crimes were committed, where they were committed, and what charges will be issued. I hope that V-Grip does not confuse the individual with the circumstances. I myself carry a concealed handgun from the time that I awake to the time that I lay my head down for rest. It is disturbing to see so much excitement about the guns rather than the dangerous individuals that were removed from our environment! Please keep in mind that most of the law abiding citizens who carry handguns are on the same side as these individuals involved with V-Grip. I have several rifles with scopes.... What is the significance with scopes?

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