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MACE aids ATF in Statesboro sting

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POSTED: April 20, 2009 11:58 a.m.
Statesboro Herald photo/

Flanked by ninety-five confiscated weapons, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Special Agent Gregory K. Grant addresses members of the news media during a press conference on Tuesday in Statesboro.

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STATESBORO — Liberty County’s Multi Agency Crack Enforcement Drug Task Force aided the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and 15 other agencies in a 10-month investigation dubbed “Statesboro Blues,” which led to the indictment of more than 100 offenders.
According to news accounts, MACE agents were among the 200, local, state and federal agents who, last Tuesday morning, rounded up 67 suspects within Statesboro and Bulloch County.
According to Edmund A. Booth Jr., U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, ATF undercover agents made contacts with multiple suspects, several of whom are suspected of being associated with local street gangs, and purchased 96 firearms, including handguns, rifles, assault rifles, shotguns and sawed-off shotguns, along with illegal drugs.  A number of the guns were reportedly stolen during home burglaries.
In addition, the investigation revealed that some of the individuals who sold firearms were felons.  
As a result of the undercover agents and officers’ evidence gathering, an open aggravated assault and a burglary case in Bulloch County was solved. The investigation also led to the indictment of more than 30 offenders by a Bulloch County grand jury for firearms and drug charges.
MACE Unit Commander Al Cato said his agency was called in to assist and contributed to the operation by providing sources and targets.
“This is just another perfect example of local agencies helping state and federal agencies work together and getting criminals off the street,” he said.
ATF Special Agent Gregory K. Grant said drugs seized included ecstasy, marijuana, crack cocaine, powder cocaine and methamphetamine. Grant estimated the drugs were worth more than $250,000 on the street.
The investigation also uncovered alleged false statements given to Medicaid.
Investigative support into health care fraud matters was provided by the Georgia Department of Audits and the Georgia Department of Community Health.
During a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Statesboro Police Chief Stan York said, “We will stay committed to addressing all illegal gang activities, especially of those that think violence is an acceptable way of life. We will continue to work to take criminals off our streets.” 
 

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