Youngstown police chief meets with U.S. attorney general

Local News

Chief Lees said federal prosecution of gun crimes was one of the prime issues of discussion

Robin Lee, Youngstown Police Chief.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Youngstown police Chief Robin Lees was among a select set of chiefs and other law enforcement personnel who met Thursday with U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr.

Lees said the meeting focused on how federal authorities could help local communities combat drug and gun crimes.

One of the main areas of discussion was transferring some gun cases to federal court, where the sentences are often longer and parole is rare.

The city has teamed up with federal law enforcement several times in recent years in combatting drug crimes as well as the recent Operation Steel Penguin, in which earlier this year special patrols were out looking for people who were known to carry guns.

Last year, federal law enforcement also reached out to help in the area of gun crimes after the city saw 13 homicides in just over two months to end the year.

In Operation Steel Penguin, federal agents accompanied city police and state parole officers on patrols and home visits of felons on parole who were known to use guns.

If arrests were made, several of those cases were then turned over to federal prosecutors, who indicted the cases in federal court.

Two of those defendants, Airik Talbott, 30, of Campbell and Edward Lightning, 36, of Warren and Youngstown, were recently sentenced in federal court after they were swept up in Operation Steel Penguin.

Talbott received a 37-month prison sentence while Lightning received a 10-year sentence, the maximum allowable under federal law.

In Ohio, the maximum sentence for someone convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm is three years.

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