Officers Arrest 129 In Tulsa Gang, Gun And Drug Sweep

Thursday, June 2nd 2011, 9:01 pm
By: News On 6

Lori Fullbright, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Because shootings have been on the rise in Tulsa, the police department asked the U.S. Marshals to institute Operation Triple Beam.

So for two weeks, 40 officers from 11 agencies went out each night looking for three things: the worst gang members in Tulsa, drugs and illegal guns.

News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright rode along.

Not long into their shift, officers spotted a couple of known gang members, who took off as soon as saw the cops pulled a U-turn. It didn't take long for officers to get the suspects in cuffs and find the dope they tossed out the passenger side window.

Jeremy Ballard, TPD: "They dumped powder cocaine and some hydroponic marijuana."
Lori Fullbright, News On 6: "So, this is a good catch."
Jeremy Ballard, TPD: "Yeah."

The scene wasn't even over when another call came in: a car stop. Three teenagers sat in cuffs on the curb. They said it's not their car and they don't know who broke off the key in the glove box or why. Officers broke open the glove box and found an illegal gun, one of 24 illegal weapons they seized during the two-week operation.

"We've had close to 200 firearm assaults in the past several month, so we want to get guns off the streets," Chad Hunt, U.S. Marshals, said. "This operation is styled to go after people carrying guns."

Officers also documented 213 gang contacts during Triple Beam. They say it's critical to know who's in what gang and who's mad at who, once violence breaks out, which happened moments later: a shooting a few blocks away.

The victim is still lying in the grass bleeding from a gunshot wound to the head. He says two men with guns kicked in his door, demanded drugs and cash, then fired shots, with his two kids inside.

"There were children, it's just crazy," Hunt said.

Hunt said this is exactly why it's critical to saturate high crime areas and go after the most violent criminals.

They made 129 arrests and saw a major decrease in crimes: firearm assaults were down 81 percent in the north side of town, robberies were down 11 percent out east and firearm assaults decreased 63 percent in south Tulsa.

If violent crime surges again, Police Chief Chuck Jordan says they'll do another concentrated operation.