53 Arrested, 68 Guns, Meth & Heroin Seized In White Center Police Bust
BREAKING: A three-month operation involving federal, state and local law enforcement officers – “Center of Attention” – has resulted in the arrests of 53 violent repeat offenders in White Center and neighboring areas.
Jenny A. Durkan, U.S. Attorney for Western Washington, said at a press conference in White Center Friday morning (Oct. 21) that federal charges have been filed against 26 of the defendants, and another 27 face charges in King County Superior Court.
Sixty-eight guns, 52 pounds of methamphetamine, two pounds of crack cocaine, and more than 10 pounds of powder cocaine were seized during the investigation, which remained a top-secret operation until today’s announcement.
This was a cooperative effort by the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Violent Gang Task Force, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Homeland Security Investigation, the Washington State Department of Corrections and State Liquor Control Board, the King County Sheriff’s Office, Metro Transit Police, the Seattle and Burien Police Departments, and the Eastside Narcotics Task Force.
“This neighborhood willl not be a safe haven for criminals,” Durkan said. “It belongs to the families and people who live in White Center.”
King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg described Center of Attention as “an extraordinary effort by federal and local law enforcement to root out some of the major sources of crime and violence in the White Center community.
“For a single operation to uncover this many offenders involved in the illegal sale of guns and drugs is truly remarkable. My office is delighted to partner with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to prosecute some of the people who have had such a negative impact on this neighborhood.”
King County Sheriff’s Major James Graddon told The White Center Blog that “when the community came to us saying ‘help us,’ we couldn’t say we were working on the problem in a covert and undercover operation. We appreciate the patience we received from the community.”
VIDEO: Here’s an interview with Satterberg as conducted by Mark Neuman:
We’ll be posting a more in-depth story, along with audio and video soon, but in the meantime here are some pics from the event as shot by Scott Schaefer: