'Operation Steel Penguin' targets illegal weapon possession in t - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

'Operation Steel Penguin' targets illegal weapon possession in the Valley

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

Federal agents and Youngstown police say they're aiming to get guns out of the hands of criminals through an operation they're calling “Operation Steel Penguin”.

At a media briefing in Youngstown Friday, Youngstown Police Chief Robin Lees was joined by U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman, Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul Gains, and ATF Special Agent in Charge Jonathan McPherson.

"Convicted felons need to understand they will go back to prison if they carry a gun in Mahoning County." Paul J. Gains, Mahoning County Prosecutor, said, "This office will continue to cooperate with federal authorities and target these violent people who threaten our community."

The operation is taking credit for seizing 33 firearms, four federal indictments, and dozens of arrests, promising more prosecutions are coming.

To date, 29-year-old Shawn Jones, 25-year-old Barry Wallace II, 33-year-old Kendal Dotson and 30-year-old Airik Talbott were indicted as a result of the project.

According to a release, this increased effort has led to a decrease in shootings compared with this time last year. 

"We appreciate the U.S. Attorney's office being responsive to the spike in murders we experienced the end of last year and convening a meeting in Youngstown to seek solutions. The result of that meeting being a focused and well-executed effort between federal, state and local agencies and was the key to the success of this program," Youngstown Police Chief Robin Lees said. 

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