Crackdown continues on illegal firearms

Sixty-five defendants were charged in 2019 with unlawful possession of firearms, as the U.S. Attorney’s office for Alaska worked to reduce the amount of violent crime in the state.

Unlawful possession of a firearm carries a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison. To date, nine of the 65 people charged face additional charges for alleged participation in varied criminal conduct involving firearms, including bank robbery and armed drug trafficking, said U.S. Attorney for the District of Alaska Bryan Schroder.

“Violent crime remains a critical problem in Alaska,” Schroder said. “The U.S. Attorney’s office has made prosecution of gun crimes one of our highest priorities. As a result of these efforts, we have taken over 200 gun carrying criminals off the streets since 2017.”

The charges stemmed from initiatives including Project Safe Neighborhoods, the Justice Department’s signature gun and gang reduction program, and the Alaska District’s Anti-Violent Crime Strategy, in which local, state and federal authorities work together to combat rising crime in Alaska.

The Anchorage Police Department is also utilizing the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN), which is the only national network that allows for capture and comparison of ballistic evidence. NIBIN is an investigative and intelligence tool that can link firearms from multiple crime scenes, helping law enforcement of disrupt shooting cycles.