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263 people arrested in major gang enforcement operation

Law enforcement says 263 people — 149 with gang affiliations — were arrested in a three-month long gang enforcement operation.

Led by the U.S. Marshals Western District, local law enforcement agencies from King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties worked together to focus on known street gangs over a 90-day period ending Sept. 30.

“Operation Triple Beams’ success illustrates the extensive partnerships within the law enforcement community and their ability to combine their specialized skills,” said Jacob Green, acting U.S. Marshal for the Western District of Washington. “As a force multiplier Operation Triple Beam’s unique design is to bring immediate relief to communities ravaged by violence through this short-term anti-gang violent crime reduction methodology. The arrest of 263 offenders within a span of 90 days should send a message that we will not stop. We will continue to address the violence in our community.”

Operation Triple Beam resulted in:

  • 263 fugitives arrested.
  • 30 firearms seized.
  • 0.608 pounds of heroin seized.
  • 108.38 grams of cocaine seized.
  • 9.14 pounds of methamphetamine seized.
  • 520 Xanax pills seized.
  • 263 doses of anabolic steroids seized.
  • Five motor vehicles seized.

Among the notable arrests were, Jonathan Rojas, who was wanted for armed robbery. Police say he carjacked and shot the driver in the foot with a sawed-off shotgun. He then led officers on a high speed chase to a residence where SWAT was called.

Also arrested was Leo Dickerson, a suspect in a homicide. He was also wanted on charges of unlawful possession of a firearm.

Kurtus Phillips was arrested for probation violation. Police say there was also probable cause for a drive-by shooting and unlawful possession of a firearm. Phillips allegedly fired several rounds into an occupied vehicle.

Meanwhile, King County’s proposed two-year budget includes nearly $850,000 for the sheriff’s office to start a gang unit.

King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson on Monday that she’s grateful to Executive Dow Constantine for including the funds in his budget.

“It’s been significant to me because I’ve lived it the last two years,” she told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson. “When I was the precinct commander out at our southwest precinct — White Center, Skyway, those areas — we were involved on a daily basis in this gang war that’s going on in the South End. And it’s not just in our jurisdiction, it’s across jurisdictions.”

Johanknecht said the department has just been trying to keep its head above water.

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