ST. PETERSBURG — Acting on an anonymous tip, St. Petersburg police on Friday made their first arrests in the city's new gun bounty program.
The tip prompted police to search a residence at 1100 James Ave. S, where they arrested three men, including one now facing a weapons charge.
Police said they recovered 32 grams of crack cocaine, 113 grams of powder cocaine, 43 grams of marijuana, $2,000 in cash, one Ruger .44 magnum handgun, and ammunition typically used with an assault rifle.
Dorian Jackson, 33, of 1411 Prescott St. S and Cunray Jenkins, 34, of 1100 James Ave. S were arrested and charged with being felons in possession of firearms, trafficking in cocaine, possession of marijuana and operating a drug house.
Dwight Roberts, 33, of 1123 12th Ave. S also was in the house and was arrested on an obstruction charge.
Police say they have received 16 "bona fide" tips since implementing the gun bounty program two weeks ago. The program offers $1,500 for each tip leading to an arrest and recovery of an assault weapon and $1,000 for all other firearms.
The initiative, created in partnership with Crime Stoppers of Pinellas County, was in response to a rash of shootings in the past month, including one that killed 8-year-old Paris Whitehead-Hamilton on April 5.
Police spokesman Bill Proffitt said authorities have no way of knowing who called in the tip because the person who calls the Crime Stoppers line is assigned a special code. If the tip results in an arrest and criminal charge, reward money is approved, but the person must call back with the code to collect the reward.
Then the reward money is sent to a bank and the tipster can go to the bank and collect it anonymously, using the code. It's still too early to know if the first gun bounty tipster has collected the reward yet, Proffitt said.
Anyone with information about someone who illegally owns a firearm can report it to Crime Stoppers at 1-877-873-8477 (TIPS).
Emily Nipps can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8452.