SAGINAW (WJRT) -
(07/30/14) - They range in age from 28 to 71 - all are charged with either drug or gun crimes.
Seventeen people have been arrested in Saginaw after a seven month investigation, which included nearly 20 police agencies.
The goals? To get guns and drugs out of the hands of suspected criminals, and to prevent more violent crimes.
In all, 26 arrest warrants have been issued, but only 17 have been arrested. The search for nine other people continues.
Saginaw County District courtrooms have been busy this week, as one by one, suspects arrested through a series of search warrants executed across Saginaw heard the charges.
Many, like Antoine Maxwell, face more than one count - from delivery of cocaine to weapons crimes.
"The investigation began in January and it was focused on the illegal sale of firearms, and illicit drug activity and the sale of illegal drugs," said Bonnie Kanicki, of the Michigan State Police.
Also included - 71-year-old Curtis Williams, now facing two gun charges, and 40-year-old Jacinta Jones, charged with conspiracy to distribute drugs. Twenty-nine-year-old Luciano Reyes faces 10 criminal counts, including armed robbery. The Saginaw County Prosecutor credits collaboration between multiple police agencies for the arrests.
"Very important, get the guns off the street, get the drugs off the streets, I believe it all ties in with the reduction of violent crime," said John McColgan, Saginaw County prosecutor.
Twenty-three guns were taken during the execution of 15 search warrants.
"Those are 23 less guns that are in the hands of potential offenders," Kanicki said.
Kanicki says some of those weapons were in the hands of convicted felons. That's one of the charges faced by Jose Galavis.
"They will be analyzed to determine if they are stolen, what the history of the weapons are, and if in fact they were used in any crimes in the Mid-Michigan area.
"People need to know, if you are going to continue that activity, we are going to get you," McColgan said.
Some of the 17 people arrested are still waiting to be formally charged.