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Nearly 100 face charges for violating narcotics and firearms laws in Warren

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Officials display some of the confiscated guns discovered during the investigation. Officials display some of the confiscated guns discovered during the investigation.

WARREN, Ohio - A massive gun and drug sweep through Warren. 

Nearly 100 people are charged and at least 65 have already been arrested by the U.S. Marshal's Task Force. 

It all began when Warren's Police Chief and Safety-Service Director reached out to the federal government at the end of 2011, determined to put an end to the drugs and violence. 

At a news conference held at Warren Police Headquarters, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms displayed some of the weapons seized as part of a 10-month investigation focused on federal and state narcotics and weapons violations in and around Warren. 

A total of 155 weapons have been taken off of Warren city streets, along with nearly 100 felons. The majority of them from Warren; others from Detroit, Columbus and Dayton. 

Many of the accused are facing federal prison time if convicted for allegedly being part of a conspiracy that includes transporting heroin from Columbus to Warren, and/or transporting heroin, cocaine and crack-cocaine from Detroit to Warren. 

Steven M. Dettelbach, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio described just some of the investigative work that went into dismantling the drug pipelines.

"The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms set up an investigation, set up a storefront operating with undercover agents, posing as workers, who are interested in obtaining narcotics and firearms. The defendants who came into that store were looking to sell guns and drugs. Instead, they bought a one-way ticket to prison," Dettelbach said.

Robin Shoemaker, the Special-Agent-In-Charge of the ATF says,

"We dismantled a violent organization. Most of them will be looking at anywhere from 10 to 30 years if not more in federal prison and there's no guarantee they'll be in the state of Ohio. That's a good thing for everybody," Shoemaker said. 

This is all part of a ten-month investigation focused in Warren and code named: "Little 'D' Town."

It's a cooperative effort between federal, state and local law enforcement including, Warren Police, the U.S. Attorney's Office, the ATF, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, DEA, TAG Task Force, Youngstown Police and others. 

The investigation began at the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012. All on the heels of a violent shootout in Warren's business district, and a New Year's murder inside a downtown night spot. 

Warren's Police Chief and the Safety-Services Director for the city asked for the assistance of the federal government and the state to end the growing problem of drugs and gun violence plaguing the streets. 

"This is one of the proudest days I've had as a law enforcement official. We were criticized for not taking the short cut on some of the drugs and violence. But I think this long-term approach, this cooperative approach, some of these people we will never see again. They're going to be in a federal prison until I'm old and fishing somewhere in the Keys," said Timothy Bowers, Warren's Police Chief.

Doug Franklin, the Mayor of Warren vows that this cooperative effort has only just begun. 

"We have resources far stronger than an internal drug unit. This is more far reaching. This has quadrupled our effectiveness and the good citizens needs to know that we're committed to this, and we'll use every resource at our disposal to eliminate it," Franklin said. 

Federal, state and local law enforcement officials and prosecutors all working together to dismantle drug pipelines with an impact that reaches Detroit; removing a cache of assault weapons and stolen guns off the streets, so that law-abidding citizens in Warren can feel safe again.

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