Law enforcement agencies team up for Oakland crime sweep

Multiple law enforcement agencies teamed up for a major crime sweep in Oakland Friday morning.
March 8, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A major crime sweep this morning made a big dent on violence in Oakland. Federal, state and local law enforcement fanned out across the city in a surprising series of arrests.

Authorities went out looking for some of the most violent offenders in Oakland -- these are people wanted for felonies, some of them even for murder. Police took an AK-47 out of an Oakland home this morning during a raid involving 14 law enforcement agencies, including U.S. Marshalls.

"This is one of the largest sweeps we have done with the help of our federal partners. It is probably the first time that I can recall when we have actually served multiple warrants simultaneously at different locations spanning throughout the Bay Area," said Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan.

Oakland police have been planning the roundup for six months. Suspects woke up to the sound of flash-bang grenades outside their homes, along with a phone call and police announcing on a loudspeaker that the home was surrounded. Many of their neighbors also heard the noise.

"It's just a lot of racket very early in the morning," said Ericka Poston of Oakland.

Poston lives down the street from one of the targeted homes on 96th Avenue and Olive Street. She was shocked to find out that an assault weapon was confiscated from her neighborhood.

"It's a shock actually because you don't think that kind of artillery is in our neighborhood. There are a lot of kids here. So that is a blessing to get that off the streets," said Poston.

U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag was in Oakland for the raid and police said she was an integral part of the operation. Police said they made at least 12 arrests and consider the streets of Oakland safer than they were yesterday.

Police say they are actively searching for at least a half a dozen more suspects believed to have committed or participated in numerous crimes.

Oakland police Deputy Chief Eric Breshears said they're wanted for things like: "conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer..."

Breshears gave no details on that attack on the officer. The list of crimes continues and the names of the gangs police say responsible, are names we've heard before such as Oakland's notorious "Case Gang" and "Money Team". Police say the two gangs are responsible for most of the violent crime happening throughout the city.

In all, more than 100 officers and agents were involved in Friday's warrant sweep. Jordan calls "Operation Ceasefire" his central strategy to reduce violent crime in Oakland. Citing the day's success, he promises more arrests to follow.

"It's based on identifying the small number of individuals in this community that are involved in violent crime," said Jordan.

Oakland police say that they are still interviewing suspects with the possibility of more arrests to come.


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