AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week “People in federal prison do 80 percent time, which means an eight- to 10-year sentence is a substantial sentence, and not one where people will be out in a year or two,” said LAPD Deputy Chief Michel Moore, the Valley Bureau’s commanding officer. “We have some new U.S. attorneys here that want to work very aggressively with us in pursuing federal charges against gang members. The leverage they have on their side, the federal side, can prove effective.” Because most gangs traffic in both guns and drugs, officials believe federal statutes could be particularly effective against gangs. When the LAPD raided gang members in North Hills and Panorama City in October, cracking down on a war that flared up between two local gangs, they were accompanied by ATF agents, Moore said. “They came out to see if there’s anything applicable in the federal statutes,” Moore said. “We’ve worked with them in an undercover capacity and surveillance capacity. They’re experts on firearms.” With the training sessions, ATF officials hope to make local police officers experts, too. SAN FERNANDO – Federal prosecutors and agents instructed their local counterparts Wednesday on how to file federal firearms charges – a tool that officials believe could help crack down on gang violence. U.S. attorneys and agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms held an eight-hour class for police officers and city and district attorneys, highlighting the advantages of prosecuting in U.S. District Court and reviewing the guidelines for such cases. “Local agencies, they can take state cases, and if they meet a certain criteria, they can bring those for federal consideration,” said ATF Senior Special Agent Wendell Roberts, coordinator of the training session. “That’s not done consistently. A lot of officers are not aware that they can do that.” Federal charges can turn a small drug bust into major time served – addressing a major concern of police officers, who are often frustrated at the speed with which convicted criminals return to the street. Under federal statutes, possession of two ounces of pure methamphetamine and a gun carries a minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison, officials said during a presentation. Wednesday’s session was the third in three days. In all, about 1,000 officers and prosecutors in Southern California attended the sessions, including officers from the LAPD, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the San Fernando Police Department and the California Highway Patrol. “One thing we’re trying to do with this program is get the word out that we’re here,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Backhus said. “We’re a tool and a resource at their disposal to get these violent offenders off the street.” Josh Kleinbaum, (818) 713-3669 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!