Thursday, January 18, 2018
Public safety

St. Petersburg police team with federal agencies to crack down on gun and drug offenders (w/video)

ST. PETERSBURG — Police say Raymond Adams, 29, jumped a fence to break into a home in the 800 block of 51st Avenue S.

Moments later, they say, he was a passenger in a getaway car while a police cruiser trailed behind. His driver hit a tree but, police say, Adams got out of the car and kept running. A witness told investigators Adams dropped his 9 mm pistol, a pair of gloves and a hoodie in a garbage can while fleeing from St. Petersburg police.

Police arrested Adams, already a felon. They also found the gun.

It's one of more than 50 guns police have been able to recover since October in a joint effort with the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. On Wednesday, the agencies announced at a news conference at police headquarters that they have filed federal charges against 35 people and state charges against nine others during the "St. Petersburg violent crime reduction initiative."

"This is just the beginning; this is like step one," said St. Petersburg police Chief Tony Holloway. "We're going to continue this. So if you're selling drugs, using a weapon, involved in a violent felony, we're coming for you."

Through the partnership, investigators within the police and ATF are able to easily speak with one another following robberies or homicides that involved weapons.

ATF investigator Daryl McCrary said he works with officers to target high-crime areas of the city. Together, the agencies are able to identify and perfect cases against people known to move drugs and guns through neighborhoods. Right away, they're discussing the charges that apply and can help ensure repeat offenders stay off the streets.

Adams, for example, was trying to rob a home he knew to be housing narcotics, according to court records. Inside, police found 10 pounds of marijuana. Now Adams could face a total of up to 20 years in prison on three separate charges.

"The number of indictments that have been announced and the number of defendants that have been prosecuted federally and through the state represent an ongoing effort … to target violent criminals and gun traffickers," said Stephen Muldrow, acting U.S. attorney of the Middle District of Florida.

Holloway said that although the city's crime rate has been declining, he and his officers wanted to team up with federal agencies to target people who "had anything to do with guns" and to make the community safer.

"This is how you make a dent; this is how to have a real impact," Mayor Rick Kriseman said. "It can't be just one governmental entity. It needs to be all of us working together."

Contact Sara DiNatale at [email protected] or (727) 893-8862. Follow @sara_dinatale.

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