Dallas police say Operation Pegasus, the department's interagency effort to curb gun violence in the southeast part of the city, has led to around 100 gun seizures and significant arrests.
Dallas Chief of Police Eddie Garcia hosted a news conference Thursday with leaders from the ATF, Texas DPS, and DOJ where background into the methodology for the investigations was shared along with highlights of some of the larger busts.
Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Prerak Shah said the justice department launched a new initiative this year that used data to plot every shooting that occurred in the city over the last four months and that one part of the city, Pleasant Grove, stood out.
Shah said investigators then focused on people in that area who were fueling the violence by flooding the area with guns and committing crimes.
Shah said that in one bust 14 guns and $1.8 million in cash were seized from one location and that another arrest involved several people selling cocaine and meth in front of a strip shopping mall.
Shah said the interagency operation, made up of the DOJ, ATF, the Dallas Police Department, and the Texas Department of Public Safety, is focused on armed criminals because data showed that those criminals, in particular, are more likely to commit more violent crime in the future both with and without guns.
"We all want the residents of southeast Dallas to know that we are there for you and we will not rest until your neighborhoods are safe places to live and to work," Shah said.
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ATF Dallas Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Boshek said Operation Pegasus resulted in 47 federal defendants being arrested in 90 days and more than 100 guns taken off the street. Boshek added the agencies launched 117 undercover operations in that short period of time.
"Over 100 firearms were seized or purchased. That is significantly important to take 100 guns off the street in 90 days," Boshek said. "What's big too is $1.8 million in cash. It was in trash bags. It was like something off of TV. We didn't know it was going to be there. That's a significant hit to narcotics traffickers."
Garcia said additional steps will be taken to get rid of the crime. He added that there were places in the city of Dallas where police have gone multiple times to break up the same drug houses and that landlords have to be held accountable if they aren't working to help solve the problem.
Garcia added that in his experience working in two departments in different cities and states that he's not seen this level of success involving local, state, and federal agencies.
"I cannot emphasize this enough, I've never seen collaboration like this," Garcia said. "It's an unbelievable force multiplier when everyone errors on the side of 'Yes, what can we do to help?'"
Neighbors at Pleasant Grove locations involved in the case said they are glad arrests have been made, but they declined to be identified for fear that some criminals may still be nearby.
In the shopping center at 2240 N. Prairie Creek Road where agents said drugs and guns were sold and three people were arrested, neighbors said they have heard machine-gun fire in the past.
At a home in the 700 block of South Acres Drive, a neighbor was shocked to see the photos of what had been seized. He said the idea of 14 guns in that house is very alarming. He was glad the guns had been removed.
Authorities said Operation Pegasus is not over. Some investigation is still underway and most federal records of indictments in the case remain sealed in federal court. New information could be revealed as those records are unsealed in the future.