TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – United States Marshals and local law enforcement took 258 people into custody during a 10-day operation to reduce violent crime and drug activity in the capital city.
In addition to the 258 arrests, 16 of which were gang members according to the U.S. Marshals, operatives found 24 firearms, nearly 19 kilograms of drugs including marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and $25,000. The operation was conducted from March 5-14th.
“Over the past few years, violent crime has been on the rise in Topeka, especially homicides and shootings,” said Ron Miller, U.S. Marshal for the District of Kansas. “The U.S. Marshals Service joined forces with local and state agencies and other Department of Justice federal law enforcement agencies to try to combat this upward trend in violence, especially gang violence. We are proud to say that working together we sought to reduce ongoing violence and gang activity that we have seen throughout Topeka and Shawnee County.”
In a release issued Monday morning, authorities reported an uptick in shootings, as a result of several feuds between local Neighborhood Base Gangs (NBG) in the late months of 2020 in Topeka. The 357 Crips NBG and the 5th Block NBG were engaged in a long-running feud that had turned increasingly violent. Both gangs had been actively recruiting young prospective members which included targeting the local foster care system.
Many members of these two gangs carried firearms for protection due to their gang affiliation and for protection while distributing controlled substances, according to the U.S. Marshals. The violent clashes between the rival gangs caused multiple shootings, and also injured bystanders.
Available data from 2014 through 2019 shows that violent crime in Topeka increased from a total of 636 violent crimes in 2014 to a total of 878 violent crimes in 2019, an increase of around 38% in violent crimes over a 6-year period.