U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota Andrew Luger headed a press conference on Friday to give updates on a joint violent crime strategy which has been in place in Minnesota and the Twin Cities since spring.
Luger said several arrests have recently been made of high-risk violent offenders, including a sweep that took place on Thursday in Minneapolis and St. Paul that netted five offenders and involved a specialized team of ATF agents.
Luger began the press conference saying that violent crime statistics are “alarming” in Minnesota. He said that shootings, carjackings and gang activity are at or near all-time highs. Luger said they are seeing violent offenders who are displaying an “absolute disdain for the law and disregard for human life.”
“What law enforcement is encountering on the streets of Minneapolis, St. Paul, and other cities is far more disturbing than even the alarming numbers show,” he said.
Luger said several federal agencies have been deployed in Minnesota since this summer, including the ATF, FBI, Homeland Security, U.S. Marshals, BCA, and DEA, in addition to local sheriffs and violent offender task forces (VOTFs) operating with local police agencies and law enforcement authorities.
Luger stressed several times during the press conference that offenders themselves have expressed to authorities that they’ve come to believe they will not be held accountable for their actions in Minnesota.
Because of this belief, Luger said, criminals have “upped the ante” by engaging in evermore violent behavior.
Luger said Minnesota is seeing an increase in drug-related violence. He said they are seeing drug dealers and violent offenders using “militaristic gear” in their trade and employing the use of firearms and auto sears, which convert handguns to fire automatically, essentially rendering them into machine guns.
Luger said charges were recently filed against 10 violent drug dealers in Rochester, Minn., who were using high-powered firearms in their organization.
Luger also said dozens of suspects have been federally charged with violent carjackings, armed robbery, illegal firearm use and gang-related crimes. Over 35 high-risk offenders have been charged in the last two weeks, he said. Luger said these offenders will remain in custody for the time being.
One case highlighted by Luger was the arrest earlier this month of Nicholas Dancy, 38, who Luger said targeted several immigrant-run grocery stores in St. Paul in a robbery spree.
On Monday, Nicholas Dancy was arrested on Aug 8 for multiple robberies at grocery stores in St. Paul.
He used firearms during the robberies.
He's a previously convicted felon.
Newly charged under the Hobbs Act, using a firearm during a robbery and felon in possession pic.twitter.com/bUOLP5cXpJ
— CrimeWatchMpls (@CrimeWatchMpls) August 19, 2022
Dancy remains in custody after being indicted in relation to multiple robberies between May 27 and June 5, 2022. Dancy is charged with three counts of Hobbs Act robbery, one count of brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, and one count of possessing a firearm as a felon.
Also present at the press conference were local and regional heads from the FBI, DEA, ATF, and U.S. Marshal’s Office, as well as the BCA, interim Minneapolis Police Chief Amelia Huffman and members representing the Hennepin and Ramsey County sheriff’s offices.
Chief Huffman gave a rundown on carjackings, shootings and shots fired.
Huffman said there have been 343 carjacking cases this year compared with 277 from the same period last year.
Huffman says this year:
–5800 reports of shootings and shots fired
–4000 Shotspotter activations (covers 7% of the city, north and part of south)
–13000 rounds fired, including 2000 in full auto bursts (Shotspotter)
–1000 person with a gun reports
— CrimeWatchMpls (@CrimeWatchMpls) August 19, 2022
Huffman said this year so far there have been 5,800 reports of shootings and shots fired and 4,000 Shotspotter activations. She said the city’s Shotspotter system only covers 7% of the city in areas of north Minneapolis and south Minneapolis east of 35W.
Those Shotspotter activations, Huffman said, have indicated 13,000 rounds fired, including 2,000 in full-auto bursts.
In Minneapolis, there have been a thousand reports of “a person with a gun,” and 60% of the gun violence is concentrated in just two of the city’s five precincts. Huffman said that 83% of the people shot so far this year have been black.
Luger indicated that the federal joint enforcement action will continue and he said they are focusing on carjackings, gun straw purchases and high-risk violent offenders.
Luger said the message of enforcement and federal consequences is beginning to be heard on the streets, “but we have a long way to go.”
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This article appeared at AlphaNews.org, and was originally written by staff writers at Minnesota Crime Watch & Information.
Photo “Andrew Luger” by Tony Webster. CC BY 2.0.
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