Police Chief: Drug Trafficking To Blame For Increase In Seizures Of Illegal Firearms

JAMESTOWN-Metro Drug Task Force Agents have seized double the amount of illegal firearms this year compared to last year according to Police Chief Harry Snellings. 

“We’ve seized 22 guns so far this year, compared to the Task Force confiscating 11 total last year. These numbers do not include the patrol division, (and) that number would be higher,” Snellings said.

The City of Jamestown is a microcosm of what society as a whole is facing when it comes to the increased presence of illegal guns on the streets. The Department of Justice says firearms are readily available on the illegal gun market, and those who are most likely to possess guns are drug sellers and gang members — overwhelmingly young and male.

Snellings admits that guns and drugs “aren’t really a new phenomenon,” but added, “we’re seizing more guns and encountering them more often.”

Jamestown Police have managed to keep the violence to a minimum with aggressive enforcement and proactive patrol officers as the city struggles to address the multitude of issues brought on by the fallout from nationwide addiction crisis.

Local residents were reminded last year of what can happen when illegal guns fall into the wrong hands.

Twenty-six-year-old Allan Burnett Jr. was gunned down in the early morning hours of Nov. 24th, 2016 while sitting in his SUV at 129 South Main St. Burnett was involved in some type of altercation that escalated just as an after-hours party he was attending was letting out per police.

That shooting touched off several other shooting incidents across the city over the course of that week. The uncertainty of when the next shooting was going happen took a toll on this community and stretched local police resources to the max.

A credible law enforcement source tells WNY News Now that Burnett’s murder and the subsequent violence that followed stemmed from rival drug gangs beefing over the city’s lucrative drug trade.

The source said that one of the gangs was from Buffalo and that they were here to undercut the local drug dealers by offering higher quality narcotics at a lower price.

Recent shootings on Barrows St. and Liberty St., respectively, have kept police busy. Snellings says that they’re still probing the shooting death of Allan Burnett Jr..

“It’s still an open case and we’re still seeking tips,” said Snellings.

Police urge you to speak out if you have any information that you think may be useful. You can call the confidential Tips Line 24 hours a day at (716) 483-8477. If you’d like to talk to a Detective, you may dial (716)483-7536.