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Operation To Curb Gang Violence On San Antonio’s East Side Nets 215 Arrests

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Matt Lehrer
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Flickr | http://bit.ly/2AVMl4s

Local and federal law enforcement agencies are calling a three-month, multi-agency operation targeting gang violence on San Antonio’s East Side a success.

During a news conference Monday, San Antonio Police Department Assistant Chief James Flavin said 215 people were arrested during “Operation Triple Beam,” including “several members of some of the most violent gangs in San Antonio.

Officials did not say how many of the people arrested were charged with crimes.

The operation was launched in September following the violent deaths of four children, including a four-year-old boy who was the accidental target in a drive-by shooting on the East Side.

“We were focused like a laser beam on the gang problem, and I think in partnership with all of these agencies here today we did very, very well,” U.S. Marshal Melesio Hernandez said. “We’re much stronger when we work together and we focus on specific areas of concerns such as the gang violence that has really up-ticked here in the last few months.”

The operation was funded through $90,000 from the U.S. Marshal Service and included members of SAPD’s street crimes unit, the U.S. Marshal Lone Star Task Force, the Bexar County and Comal County sheriff offices, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Officials said 40 of the 215 people were federal fugitives. They also credit the operation with removing 70 guns and drugs worth more than $176,000 from the streets.

Last year was San Antonio’s deadliest year for violent deaths in more than two decades, and this year is on track to have a similar number of violent deaths.

According to the SAPD, San Antonio had 151 homicides in 2016, with at least 40 of those homicides occurring on the East Side.

The most recent numbers available for 2017 show 61 homicides through June, eight less than the number of homicides through June 2016.

Camille Phillips can be contacted at Camille@tpr.org or on Twitter @cmpcamille