A U.S. Marshals-led task force made up of multiple federal, state and local law enforcement agencies including Seattle Police and the King County Sheriff cracked down on gangs across the region from July through October but officials can’t say if the interdictions and arrests will help bring justice after a wave of gun violence and the September murder of a Central District man with gang ties.
Operation Triple Beam Jet City is the latest in an ongoing federal effort to curb the illegal drug trade and gang violence on a regional basis in areas across the country. Officials said another Triple Beam operation — a triple beam is the type of scale you might remember from science class and reportedly is popular with drug dealers — just cleared more than 500 drug dealers, gang members, and sex offenders off the streets in the state of Mississippi, garnering praise from U.S. Attorney General and Southerner Jeff Sessions.
Around “Jet City,” the fed-led operation wrapped up with the arrest of 263 fugitives, 149 of whom were gang members or associates, according to the U.S. Marshals Service. A U.S. Marshals deputy said the agency could not provide the names of people arrested in the effort “as some individuals may not be in custody anymore.” Of the arrests, 108 “violent offenders” — 72 with gang ties — were taken into custody in Seattle.
One arrest announced by officials is Leo “Baby Leo” Dickerson, identified by police as a South Seattle 44 Holly Hoover Crip gang member, and indicted in September on federal charges of theft and illegal firearm possession. The 22-year-old “is associated with guns and gangs” and “social media shows defendant possessing numerous guns” the court order approving his detention reads, noting that Dickerson “was charged in state court for possessing a firearm and failed to appear for his arraignment” and was eventually arrested in July “in possession a firearm and a high-capacity magazine.” The U.S. Marshals say Dickerson was wanted on the unlawful possession of a firearm charges and was also a suspect in a Seattle homicide. The federal agency referred CHS to the Seattle Police Department for more information about the murder. Officials say during his arrest by the district fugitive task force and Seattle Police Department Gang Unit on July 17th in Tacoma, Dickerson “discarded a backpack that yielded the seizure of a Glock 26 loaded with a drum magazine containing 50 rounds of ammunition” and “two standard capacity magazines were recovered — one containing 14 rounds of ammunition and the other 10 rounds.”
It isn’t clear if Operation Triple Beam activities impacted the ongoing gun violence around the Central District toward summer’s end or will help in the investigation of the shooting death of 25th Ave S resident Marshall Bennett on September 14th. In a message to community members, a Seattle Police official said a “person of interest” in the Bennett investigation had been taken into custody. “ATF, DOC, and the Gang Unit Detectives conducted surveillance operations, located and arrested the suspect in Federal Way,” the official said a week after the murder. No arrest or charges in the case have been announced.
In addition to claiming the 263 arrests, Operation Triple Beam officials Thursday tallied up the thousands of dollars in firearms, drugs, and vehicles seized during the effort:
- 263 fugitives arrested
- 30 firearms seized
- 276.16 grams (or 0.608 pounds) of heroin seized, with an approximate street value of $9,800
- 108.38 grams of cocaine, with an approximate street value of $7,000
- 4,149.34 grams (or 9.14 pounds) of methamphetamine, with an approximate street value of $60,000
- 520 Xanax pills with an estimated street value of $2,500
- 263 doses of anabolic steroids, with an approximate street value of $1,000
- Five motor vehicles seized
- Two stolen vehicles recovered
The operation, of course, isn’t the first time federal law enforcement has recently gotten involved in a Seattle gang crackdown. In 2015, CHS reported on an effort to curb gang violence with help from the FBI and ATF. And federal effort hasn’t been limited to the Central District. In 2014, federal law enforcement and the DOJ helped SPD crack down on gang activity around Pike/Pine.
The 2018 “Jet City” effort now joins a long list Triple Beam success stories. Since 2010, the Marshals Service has led more than 50 counter-gang operations which they say have yielded more than 8,000 arrests and the seizure of more than 1,800 illegal firearms, the agency said Thursday.
“The arrest of 263 offenders within a span of 90 days should send a message that we will not stop,” Jacob Green, acting U.S. Marshal for the Western District of Washington, said in an announcement of the operation. “We will continue to address the violence in our community.”
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