Since the launch of the OAG and PPD initiative, over 41 firearms have been taken off the streets

PHILADELPHIA—Today in the Cobbs Creek neighborhood of West Philadelphia, Attorney General Josh Shapiro and Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw announced the preliminary results of a six month partnership of the Office of Attorney General’s Strategic Response Team working with West Philadelphia police districts. Since April 2021, the collaboration has charged 65 individuals. They have also seized 41 firearms, including three ghost guns, and more than 4,000 doses of narcotics. Police Commissioner Outlaw stated that the area is experiencing an overall decrease in fatal shooting victims in the Strategic Response Team’s targeted areas compared to the same time period in 2020.

“The early results of this partnership is more evidence that gun violence and drug trafficking go hand in hand, and that drug trafficking is a violent enterprise,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “We are running every firearm taken off the streets through our Track + Trace Program that we launched in 2019 to find out who bought them, if they have been used in crimes, and how they got into the hands of criminals.”

The Office of Attorney General Strategic Response Teams are mobile units sent to assist local law enforcement in reducing violence by taking down drug trafficking operations in communities across Pennsylvania. These teams operate in areas confronting violence related to drug trafficking organizations, and have recently operated in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia and the city of McKeesport in Western Pennsylvania.

“The collaborative efforts between our state and federal partners continue to help the Philadelphia Police Department net more dangerous individuals and recover more firearms off the street,” said Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw. “I’m truly thankful for the additional help given to us through the Attorney General’s Office and look forward to our continued partnership in combating violent crime and making our streets safer.”

In Kensington, the Strategic Response Team focuses on dismantling corrupt organizations through projects like the Kensington Initiative. In June 2021 alone, the Strategic Response Team worked through the Kensington Initiative to arrest a high-level drug trafficking ringleader and seven other mid-level traffickers. Agents also discovered seven firearms, including a ghost gun, more than 8,000 doses of heroin/fentanyl, and 1,500 grams of crack cocaine during the investigation.

“This is difficult, dangerous work, and I’m grateful for our partners on our Strategic Response Team and the Philadelphia Police for risking their safety to make these results possible. We’ve also been working with residents in the 18th and 19th districts — they are a valuable source of information and tips that help our investigations, and we aren’t going to stop until every neighborhood, every street corner, can be safe for its residents,” said AG Shapiro.

The Strategic Response Team in West Philadelphia partners with the Philadelphia Police Department to provide more law enforcement support to community leaders in neighborhoods with high rates of gun violence related to drug trafficking.

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