U.S. Attorney says Warren investigation contributes to record pace of weapons indictments

firearm indictments

Staff report


The April 17 completion of a 10-month Warren drugs and guns investigation, resulting in charges against 97 people, helped put the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio on a record pace for firearm indictments.

U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach announced Tuesday that the Northern District filed 124 indictments for illegal firearms in the first half of 2013. The highest number of indictments during a full year in the past decade is 220.

“Our office and law-enforcement partners continue to work around the clock enforcing our nation’s firearms laws,” Dettelbach said. “We are on pace to file more firearms indictments than ever before.”

The Cleveland office had the most illegal-firearm indictments in the Northern District with 53, followed by the Youngstown office (43), Toledo (16) and Akron (12).

Although 55 indictments resulted from the Warren investigation, dubbed “Little D-Town” for ties to Detroit activity, about 10 involved firearms. Most of the others were drug-related, though some individuals were indicted on drug and weapons charges.

The investigation, which confirmed that individuals with Detroit connections were involved in much of Warren’s gun and drug crime, resulted in the removal of 155 firearms from the city streets.

In one example, Lewis Powell of Warren was indicted on charges of illegally possessing 14 firearms, as well as body armor and weapons with obliterated serial numbers, as part of a conspiracy that brought heroin and cocaine from Detroit to Warren.

Investigators, including some with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, set up a fake storefront on Youngstown Road during the operation to encourage individuals to sell weapons and drugs to law enforcement.

There were 73 individuals sentenced in 2012 for firearms crimes in the Northern District of Ohio, and the average sentence was nearly six years in prison, according to Dettelbach.

Warren Council President Bob Dean said last weekend that the Friday night shooting death of McKayla Hopkins, 18, of Warren while she attended a birthday party in Perkins Park highlights a problem with gun possession and gun violence among teens in the city.

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