ATF withdraws additional agents brought to Flint - WNEM TV 5

ATF withdraws additional agents brought to Flint

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FLINT, MI (WNEM/AP) -

Federal authorities say they're withdrawing a dozen agents brought to Flint from around the country earlier this year to help deal with the city's crime rate.

The Flint Journal reports (http://bit.ly/RAbQLq) the "surge" of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' agents was similar to previous efforts in other high-crime areas of the U.S. Since the agents arrived in July, officials say they have made 130 arrests and seized 125 firearms.

Flint is on pace to break its yearly record for homicides.

Officials say the increase in agents was planned to last through the summer. Going forward, remaining federal agents are expected to work with local and state authorities to maintain a focus on curbing violent crime in the city. ATF spokesman Donald Dawkins said Thursday: "We will be here."

The move comes a day after the Flint Police Department teamed up with several other agencies to get the most violent criminals off the street.

The collaborative initiative called the Violent Crime Reduction Partnership, or VCRP, was led by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, or ATF.

The unit operated out of one location and "flooded" crime scenes in which suspects used firearms.

Flint's crime rate is the highest in the nation.

In a speech announcing the results of the four month sting, ATF Agent David McCain explained the need to choose Flint despite it being a much smaller city than others on the list.

"During the sting, 130 arrests were made, 125 firearms were recovered, more than 10,000 grams of drugs was confiscated," McCain said.

The 130 suspects arrested had 823 prior arrests.

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Information from: The Flint Journal, http://www.mlive.com/flint

Copyright 2012 WNEM (Meredith Corporation.) All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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