Youngstown trails only Cleveland in number of illegal firearm indictments

Staff report


The United States attorney’s office for the Northern District of Ohio filed 218 illegal firearms indictments last year as part of Project Safe Neighborhood — the most in six years.

Broken down by geography in the district, the most indictments filed came out of the Cleveland office, with 83. Cleveland was followed by the Youngstown office with 53, Akron with 49 and Toledo with 33.

There were 157 defendants sentenced last year for firearms crimes, and the average sentence was slightly more than five years.

The 2011 V-GRIP — Violence, Gun Reduction Interdiction Program — program in the Mahoning Valley resulted in nearly 150 firearms seized in Youngstown, Warren and surrounding communities, as well as 12 federal indictments.

Jeremy Betts, 26, of Campbell, was arrested Sept. 3, after being found in possession of a sawed-off shotgun. The shotgun was hidden in a stroller that was carrying a baby, according to court documents.

The V-GRIP program included cooperation from nearly two dozen federal, state and local law- enforcement agencies.

These agencies worked together to put additional officers on the streets of Youngstown, Warren and surrounding communities to supplement regular patrols, according to the U.S. attorney’s press release.

Officers identified repeat violent offenders, with an emphasis on reducing gun violence. Those arrested and found to be in possession of illegal firearms, drugs or other contraband could then be prosecuted in either federal or state court, federal officials said.

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