ATF carries out "Operation Frontline" in Stockton
STOCKTON, Calif. - A several-month operation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms has resulted in dozens of arrests of men and women accused of drug and gun charges in Stockton.
Stockton police officers helped the federal agency with the identification of suspects, the investigations, and the arrests.
"That's one thing I'm not shy about, is asking for help. I know we can't do it alone," said Stockton Chief of Police Eric Jones.
ATF calls the program that assisted Stockton "Frontline", and it's only been tried a handful of times in the U.S.
"We're figuring out how to have more of an impact, and not just arrest people. Are we arresting the right people? Are they the people committing the violent acts in those cities," said ATF Special Agent in Charge Joseph Riehl.
In many of those investigations, ATF locates people with long criminal histories and informs them of upcoming criminal opportunities, such as home invasions. Then before those "crimes" actually happen, the suspects are arrested for their willingness to be part of that operation.
Jones and Riehl said it's not entrapment, but good police work that's removed more than 50 people from the streets of Stockton.
"These are people we target, who we know for a fact, based on criminal historie,s are truly criminals who in the past used firearms to commit acts of violence," said Riehl.
"This group, no one would argue they were on a continual basis, up to serious crimes," said Jones.
News 10 learned of the operation several months ago but agreed to hold off on reporting the progress of the mission until it was complete. ATF is holding a news conference Tuesday in Stockton to release more details.