YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Local, state and federal authorities gathered in Youngstown Friday to tout the results of an effort to get guns off the streets of the city.
The Youngstown Police Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Ohio Adult Parole Authority, U.S. Attorney General’s Office and Mahoning County Prosecutors Office all participated in the sweep.
The goal of Operation Steel Penguin was to target people believed to illegally possess firearms.
Some suspects were arrested during parole checks and other police activity during the three-month investigation.
The following suspects were charged with being a felon in possession of firearms:
- Shawn Jones, 29, of Youngstown: Investigators say Jones was previously convicted of attempted murder and racketeering. Court records state he was also one of the founders of the LSP street gang in Youngstown.
- Barry Wallace, II, 25, of Youngstown: Investigators say he was previously convicted of possession of heroin and cocaine.
- Kendal Dotson, 33, of Youngstown: The indictment says Dotson has previous convictions for possession of heroin and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute crack cocaine.
- Airik Talbott, 30, of Campbell: He was previously convicted of aggravated robbery and escape, according to the indictment.
To date, 33 firearms were seized.
“These cases involve people who are not allowed to have firearms because of past crimes,” said U.S. Attorney Justin E. Herdman. “We will continue to work with police and federal agencies through Project Safe Neighborhoods to make Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley safer.”
Youngstown Police Chief Robin Lees said the spike in murders last year prompted a meeting where all agencies came together and worked out a plan to target illegal gun possession.
“The result of that meeting being a focused and well-executed effort between federal, state, and local agencies and was the key to the success of the program,” he said.
Authorities hope Operation Steel Penguin sends a message to convicted felons that they will go back to prison if they carry a gun in Mahoning County.
“This office will continue to cooperate with federal authorities to target these violent people who threaten our community,” said Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul Gains.
According to the Department of Justice, others have been charged in the Mahoning County Court of Common Pleas. Several investigations are ongoing, and more indictments are expected.