SF Bay Area sweep yields largest number of arrests in ATF history

Law enforcement agencies on Thursday announced the results of Operation Cold Day, a joint two-year investigation resulting in federal charges on 42 defendants.

The focus of the operation was to bring federal, state and local agencies to bear on street-level gun and drug-related crime in San Mateo and San Francisco counties, spearheaded by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

ATF Special Agent in Charge Jill Snyder said in a press conference at San Francisco Police Headquarters that the operation resulted in the largest number of arrests in the agency’s history.

“We targeted those who created a pipeline to stream firearms into the community and then placed them into the hands of violent criminals,” said Snyder, announcing that over 90 guns were seized or purchased and 115 arrest warrants issued for state and federal crimes.

“These offenders engaged in a wide array of criminal activity to include firearms and narcotics trafficking, auto-theft and burglary,” Snyder said.

The operation began in the summer of 2015, with ATF gathering intelligence on street gang activities while conducting search warrants on targets and performing undercover firearm buys, bringing assistance and response teams from around the country that culminated with 1,000 officers and agents fanning out across the Bay Area this week to make arrests.

In addition to the firearms, 48 stolen vehicles and 100 ounces of narcotics were recovered.

Of the 42 individuals charged with federal crimes by the U.S. Department of Justice, at least 15 were for weapons violations including conspiracy and dealing in firearms without a license, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number.

San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe detailed others had been hit with state-level weapons charges for violating California law on “assault weapons” and illegal possession of firearms and high-capacity magazines.

In all, some 75 arrests were made this week across the Bay Area, while others are at large.

“This interagency collaboration and the resulting arrests goes a long way to towards addressing gun violence by removing from our streets firearms and those willing to obtain them illegally and potentially use them,” said San Francisco Police Chief William Scott.

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