Prince George’s police to crack down on gun traffickers

Prince George\'s County Police Chief Mark Magaw announces the "Follow the Firearm" program, which they hope will crack down on gun trafficking. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)

PALMER PARK, Md. – As crime continues to drop in Prince George’s County, police are doing something new in an effort to push those numbers even lower: They’re taking their efforts to keep illegal guns out of the county to a new level.

“We’re very good at arresting the individual who uses the firearm, but up to this point we have not sought to identify and prosecute those who traffic in those firearms,” says Deputy Police Chief Henry Stawinski.

During August, extra police officers are being sent to certain parts of the county – mainly inside the Beltway – to confiscate illegal guns.

Then, with the help of the ATF, investigators are using the unique characteristics of each weapon to help trace it back to traffickers and prosecute those sellers.

“If you’re illegally trafficking firearms in Prince George’s County today you can either stop, or you can be in jail by the end of the year,” warned Stawinski.

Police say overall crime in the county is down about 13 percent from this time last year. Violent crime dropped about 17 percent, car thefts took a 15 percent tumble, and property crime fell 12 percent.

Police Chief Mark Magaw thinks the new summer strategy, dubbed “Follow the Firearm,” will drive those numbers down even farther.

“We know this strategy will only enhance the safety of everyone who lives and works in our community,” said Magaw.

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