Tornado Watch issued for much of the Mid-South until 8 p.m.

WREG rides with Project Safe Neighborhoods task force

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – At least two fugitives were arrested Wednesday night as part of a routine crackdown on gun crimes by the Project Safe Neighborhoods task force.

It’s composed of 13 officers from the Memphis Police Department, Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and the federal ATF.

They sift through every case involving a gun and find the ones that could potentially be prosecuted as a federal crime, which brings stiffer penalties and eliminates the possibility of parole.

“In the state system, there’s no ammunition charges. In the federal system, we can indict on ammunition charges,” said Sgt. Zachery Gatlin, a 10-year veteran of the task force.

The task force successfully prosecutes hundreds of these cases each year, about a third of which meet the criteria for a federal case.

This might include a suspect with a prohibited weapon or one who’s not supposed to have any type of gun.

“The most common one is the convicted felon in possession of firearms,” said Gatlin.

At the first two houses WREG approached, officers were unable to locate the fugitives they were looking for.

At the third house, they began to make progress.

“It appears an individual inside this location is reaching out to the fugitive,” said Gatlin.

The fugitive, who WREG agreed not to name, met officers at a rooming house miles away and was arrested.

“That was a peaceful arrest with full cooperation from the defendant. That’s as good as it gets right there,” said Gatlin.

An outcome second only to the federal conviction that might follow.

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