The Department of Justice is preparing to launch “strike forces” in the District and four other cities to curb violent crime by addressing illegal gun trafficking.
The announcement came from Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco during an event hosted by the Police Executive Research Forum, on Tuesday, June 22.
The cross-jurisdictional units are planned to be deployed within the next 30 days.
“Working with our local partners to tackle violent crime is one of the Justice Department’s most important responsibilities,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. “Today, the department is taking another concrete step to address violent crime and illegal firearms trafficking. Our firearms trafficking strike forces will investigate and disrupt the networks that channel crime guns into our communities with tragic consequences. This effort reflects our shared commitment to keep communities safe.”
The teams will focus on major firearms trafficking corridors that channel guns into New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area and Washington, D.C.
Designated US Attorneys will lead the forces and they will work in coordination with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and with state and local law enforcement partners.
The strike forces will share information or collaborate across districts where firearms trafficking schemes cross state or jurisdictional boundaries.
According to the DOJ’s statement, gun violence has played a key role in the spike in violent crime over the last 18 months, and the Department’s move aims at stemming the supply of illegally trafficked firearms used in violent crimes, including deadly shootings.
The strike forces are part of President Joe Biden‘s comprehensive plan to address violent crime and gun violence.