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Feds: Push by ATF, Vegas police led to 8 gun, drug arrests

August 12, 2020 GMT

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The recent arrests of eight people on federal weapon and drug charges were the result of a months-long push by federal agents and Las Vegas police to stem gun sales and violence in two crime-troubled neighborhoods, authorities said Wednesday.

U.S. Attorney Nicholas Trutanich said the arrests followed separate criminal indictments June 30 in seven cases that court records showed resulted from investigations dating to October 2019. Most charges focus on allegations of gun and drug possession and sales in January, February and March.

The prosecutor said 30 guns, ammunition and a total of nearly 2.5 pounds (1.1 kilograms) of heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine were seized by federal Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents and Las Vegas police during the effort dubbed Operation Nora.

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The defendants range in age from 28 to 55. Attorneys Gabriel Grasso, representing Ozzie Morrison, Brian James Smith, representing defendants Alexander Fitwi and Jose Wade, and Paul Riddle, a federal public defender representing Brenton Williams, declined to comment.

Lawyers for Durrell Melchor, Prentice Moreland, Antione Thomas and Jessica Williams did not immediately respond to email messages.

Trutanich said Fitwi, Melchor, Moreland and Thomas have prior felony convictions that prohibited them from owning or possessing guns.

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