Local, federal officials arrest 25 violent criminals in Twin Cities, Rochester operations
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Friday, federal prosecutors and law enforcement officials announced more than a dozen arrests as part of a joint law enforcement operation.
During a press conference to provide an update on the federal violent crime strategy launched earlier this year, U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger highlighted two operations conducted Thursday that resulted in 25 arrests and the seizure of dozens of guns.
One of the operations in Minneapolis and St. Paul ended with 15 violent criminals being arrested and 32 illegal guns seized, according to Luger.
Friday afternoon, the U.S. Attorney’s Office identified those arrested and charged as the following:
- 32-year-old Cortez Davon Blakemore – Possession with Intent to Distribute Fentanyl
- 28-year-old Deveon Marquise Branch – Possession of a Firearm as a Felon and Possession of a Machine Gun
- 31-year-old Robert Charles Banks – Possession of a Firearm as a Felon
- 24-year-old Daniel James Hart Jr.- Possession of Ammunition as a Felon
- 38-year-old Anthony Lee Hitchcock – Possession of a Firearm as a Felon
- 37-year-old Christopher Michael Johnson – 2 counts of Possession with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance
- 38-year-old John Lee Jones – 2 counts of Possession of a Firearm as a Felon and Possession with Intent to Distribute Fentanyl
- 25-year-old Dominique Marquis McCaskel – Possession of a Firearm as a Felon
- 24-year-old Charles Rodacker Waye – Distribution of Fentanyl, Carrying and Using a Firearm During a Drug Trafficking Crime and Possession of a Firearm as a Felon
- 33-year-old Tyrone Marshaun White – Possession of a Firearm as a Felon
- 26-year-old Marlin Lavar White – Possession of a Firearm as a Felon
- 50-year-old Saladean Walker Salean – Possession of Ammunition as a Felon
- 18-year-old Cortez Ward – Possession of a Firearm as a Felon
- 18-year-old Quantez Ward – Possession of a Firearm as a Felon
- 43-year-old Eric Lee Wilbert – Possession of a Firearm as a Felon, Possession of a Firearm During a Drug Trafficking Offense and Possession with Intent to Distribute Fentanyl
A separate coordinated action targeted a large-scale methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy in Rochester, resulting in 10 arrests and the seizure of drugs and guns.
Officials said those operations were conducted with the help of two national Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives special response teams that came to Minnesota.
“While we are fortunate that two of these elite teams traveled to our community to help us arrest high-level targets, it is sad news that we in Minnesota need them in the first place, but we do,” Luger said Friday.
In May, Luger announced a new strategy to “significantly increase” the role of federal law enforcement and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in combatting violent crime, with a goal of getting the most violent offenders off the streets.
In Friday’s update, Luger said enforcement actions have shown how violent criminals have “upped the ante.”
“Larger numbers of violent offenders are employing far more militaristic and deadly weapons. Chief among these are Glock 19s equipped with auto sears or switches that turn these handguns into fully automatic machine guns,” Luger said.
Luger said authorities are also noticing body armor, laser scopes and extended magazines in more crimes.
“What used to be knives are now guns, what used to be guns are now machine guns and what used to be bullet wounds are now deadly sprays of machine gun fire. This is what we’re hearing from hospitals and emergency medical personnel,” Luger added.
Some of the other agencies involved in the operations include the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, United States Marshals Service, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office, Minneapolis Police Department, St. Paul Police Department, Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office and the Rochester Police Department.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS Reporter Eric Chaloux is following this story Friday and will have the latest at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.