Oakland police and federal agents announced the arrest of 60 “worst of the worst” violent criminals during a four-month undercover operation that included the seizure of 92 guns and several pounds of drugs.

Police Chief Howard Jordan said he requested the aid of undercover agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives after three children were killed by gunfire in Oakland last year. A similar type of operation has been used in Phoenix and San Diego, officials said. In Oakland it was called Gideon III and started in February and ended in recent days, officials said.

Jordan said those arrested face mostly federal charges but a few face state charges including robbery, selling drugs, possessing and selling guns and assaulting federal agents.

The operation included 44 undercover agents from the ATF, half of whom came from out of state, said Acting Special Agent Scot Thomasson. Jordan credited the operation with bringing down violent crime in the month of May. He said in April there were 91 shootings and that number had been cut in half in May. In April, there were 14 homicides in Oakland and just five in May, he said.

Thomasson said his agents, acting on intelligence gathered from Oakland police, went after the most active shooters, drug dealers and robbery crews who were ripping off other criminals for drugs and guns at area “stash houses.” “We ferreted out the worst of the worst in the most criminally infested areas,” Thomasson said. “These are the career criminals, the gang members and robbery crews who are some of the most violent on the streets. The robbery crews go to drug and money stash houses and steal from other criminals.”

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, who attended a news conference at the federal building in downtown Oakland to announce the arrests, said the operation has given some Oakland neighborhoods a rest from violence. Jordan and Thomasson both said the use of undercover ATF agents in Oakland will continue even though this operation has wrapped up. Neither offered specifics on future operations.

Source: Doug Oakley, Boston Herald

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