• Three from EJC among 61 facing federal charges

  • Three Eastern Jackson County men were among 61 in the Kansas City area charged Friday in a federal indictment for firearms violations, drug trafficking and other crimes.

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  • Three Eastern Jackson County men were among 61 in the Kansas City area charged Friday in a federal indictment for firearms violations, drug trafficking and other crimes.
    Tammy Dickinson, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced the charges Friday following a nearly yearlong investigation by the ATF and the Kansas City Police Department along with help from the Independence Police Department and Homeland Security Investigations.
    “This was the largest federal roundup ever conducted in this district as the result of a single investigation,” Dickinson said. “We are taking dozens of violent criminals off the street and hundreds of illegal guns out of circulation. Kansas City is a safer city today as a result of this operation.”
    Kenneth Hamm, 40, of Blue Springs, and Edgar Mejia, 39, of Independence, were both charged with one count of a felon in possession of a firearm. John Beeman, 28, of Lee’s Summit, was charged with one count each of a felon in possession of a firearm and possessing an unregistered firearm.
    Hamm was one of the 14 fugitives who remained at large, but Hamm was arrested late afternoon Friday. Dickinson is asking anyone with information on any of the other 13 fugitives to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).
    Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said the operation was part of the new Kansas City NoVA (No Violence Alliance) effort, in which federal, state and local law enforcement agencies work together with community leaders to battle crime.
    “This is a significant operation that should have a major impact on gun crime in our city,” Peters Baker said. “This operation shows we mean what we say.”
    Of the other 58 charged, one is from Grandview, two are from Kansas City, Kan., one has an unknown address and the others are from Kansas City, Mo. For a full list of those charged, see this story at www.examiner.net.
    More than 150 police officers from local, state and federal agencies arrested 28 of the defendants in a three-day sweep earlier this week. Eight were already in custody on earlier charges from the same investigation. One is in federal custody on an unrelated charge and 10 are in state custody on unrelated charges.
    Police seized 222 weapons, including handguns, assault rifles and sawed-off shotguns, during the arrests. Some of the firearms were identified as having been used in violent crimes, including unsolved murder investigations, and some were reported stolen. Police also seized or purchased undercover various amounts of marijuana, cocaine, crack cocaine, methamphetamine, PCP and other drugs during the investigation.
    Dickinson said 41 of those charged have prior felony convictions and more than half were on probation or parole. Federal law prohibits the possession of firearms by convicted felons and anyone using or distributing illegal drugs to possess a firearm or ammunition.
    Page 2 of 2 - “This operation targeted armed career criminals, violent felons who are carrying guns,” Dickinson said. “We know that the same guns are often used over and over again to commit violent crimes. Every weapon taken out of the hands of a convicted felon represents lives saved and violent crimes prevented.”
    Dickinson said the NoVA partners will approach known associates of those charged in the investigation to offer rehabilitative resources and services if they are willing to renounce a life of crime.

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