Mission SAVE pulling drugs, guns off the streets

ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – Mission SAVE is a collaborative effort of five law enforcement agencies working together to get the most violent people off city streets.

Fifteen men, 12 of them from St. Louis, have been indicted on federal conspiracy charges for distributing drugs. FBI Special Agent in Charge William Woods said Mission SAVE delivered a huge blow to the Cochran Crips gang, which was operating in the Carr and Columbus Square neighborhoods.

“The idea behind Mission SAVE was that we would combine all our resources and intelligence to try to make a dent in violent crime,” Woods said.

The FBI, DEA, ATF, and St. Louis city and county police forces have made a total 539 arrests in just two years. They’ve also taken an enormous amount of heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine off St. Louis area streets.

“There are a lot of drug trafficking groups that operate in St. Louis area. All violent; it’s their way of life,” said James Shroba, DEA Special Agent in Charge.

Shroba said Mission SAVE recently dismantled the Downtown Taliban drug trafficking operation; another gang responsible for death, drugs, and destruction in the city.

“We built off site houses for investigators and intelligence analysts. They share info on a daily basis,” Woods said.

There were 188 homicides in the city last year, but there were 286 overdose deaths, as well as 181 overdose deaths in the county.

Getting drugs and violent offenders off streets is job number one, but it takes public cooperation.

“That’s one of the biggest things in our office, is witness and victim participation. People have to feel comfortable to come forward and feel safe,” said St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner.