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Police wrapped up a large-scale, three-day gang enforcement operation Friday in the Killeen area labeled “Operation First Strike” resulting in “37 arrests of alleged violent offenders and fugitives,” the Killeen Police Department announced in a news release.

Out of the total arrests, 13 were gang members or associates, KPD said in the release issued late Friday.

“Led by the U.S. Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force, Texas Department of Public Safety, the Killeen Police Department, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, multiple federal, state and local law enforcement agencies concentrated their efforts and focus April 17 thru 19, 2019 on known gang members in the Killeen-Bell County area,” according to the release.

The operation was meant to “send a message to gang members preying on the citizens of Killeen and Bell County,” police said in the release.

“Operation First Strike, which was modeled after the U.S. Marshals Service’s immediate impact National fugitive initiative known as Operation Washout, was deployed to bring the Killeen community immediate relief from violent gang-related crime. The collaborative law enforcement effort was accomplished by targeting and arresting violent fugitives who were wanted by authorities for high-profile crimes such as homicide, felony assault and sexual assault, illegal possession of firearms, illegal drug distribution, robbery and arson,” according to the KPD release.

KPD said operations like First Strike will continue “and the violence in Killeen, Bell County and the Western District of Texas will continue to be addressed.”

KPD thanked the following agencies for participating in the operation; U.S. Marshals Service, Texas Department of Public Safety, Waco Police Department, McLennan County Sheriff’s Office, Bell County Sheriff’s Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

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