Fresno police say they take an average of six or seven guns from criminals off the streets every day. Those guns are often used in drive-by shootings that claim innocent victims.
The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California, Benjamin Wagner, held a news conference in Fresno to announce that federal authorities have been assisting local police and sheriff's deputies in getting guns off the street and prosecuting those who use them.
"In the past year a total of 42 persons from this area have been sent to federal prison on federal firearms convictions," said Wagner. "We specifically prosecuted some cases that involved guns stolen in robberies down in Southern California and also military firearms stolen at Fort Irwin and brought to this area and resold to gang members."
Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer says the combined local and federal efforts are paying off.
"Over the past three years we've had three consecutive years of violent crime decreases in our city. Four percent, 6 percent, and 7 percent, and I'm proud to say through year to date in 2014 we are seeing a 7 percent reduction in violent crime in our city and a 20 percent reduction in shootings," said Dyer.
Wagner added that one notable milestone in the effort to combat violent crime in this region came last week. The last of 39 defendants in a series of federal cases targeting the violent Nuestra Familia narcotics trafficking organization pleaded guilty in federal court in Fresno. We expect some of those defendants will spend decades in prison.