Statistics show violent crimes escalated last year in Kinston with several people shot and killed, so federal, state and local officials are coming together to try and reverse the trend.
The effort is called "Operation Counterpunch," and on Wednesday the agencies rounded up 15 individuals in Kinston accused of federal firearm violations and narcotics charges.
U.S. Attorney Thomas Walker says agents seized 54 firearms, over 362 rounds of ammunition, more than $8,000 in cash, 4 vehicles, 213 grams of crack cocaine, and various amounts of cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana.
Kinston Public Safety director Bill Johnson says crime has already started to drop in Kinston, and a lot of it is a direct result of the "Operation Counterpunch" initiative. Johnson says, "We plan to continue this, keep it up, continue to put the pressure on and we should continue to see Kinston become safer than it already is."
Johnson says the long term approach to decrease violence Is the only way to remove it from the community.
Fifteen agencies from the local, state and federal levels are involved in "Operation Counterpunch."
A U.S. Attorney will announce a plan Thursday to counteract the violence in Kinston, where violent crime is three times higher than the national average.
The Federal Law Enforcement Office is calling this program Operation Counterpunch. Federal law enforcement officials were in the Lenoir County seat yesterday, along with state and local officials, for a raid on a house on East Caswell Street, according to the Kinston Free Press.
The paper says the officers would not give details about why they raided the house. The Free Press says one man was taken away in handcuffs.
We'll keep you posted on what we learn about this.