Twenty-two Springfield men are now behind bars after being arrested during a major drug sweep.
Federal, state and local law enforcement officials gathered at the United States District Courthouse in Springfield on Monday for a press conference detailing the operation.
They said arrests from the operation date back to as late as 2013 and as early as Sunday.
As a result, the nearly two-dozen arrested are charged with either distributing a controlled substance or unlawfully possessing firearm ammunition.
They range in ages from 22 to 40.
"A lot of hot names, especially four hot names on the list that are now off the streets," Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said.
Police Chief John Barbieri said getting those top fugitives off the streets in time for summer will help keep criminal activity low during a time where the city usually sees it peak.
"It should significantly increase the safety, especially of the citizens who reside in the high crime areas," Barbieri said.
Some of the arrests were made in other surrounding cities, but officials said the alleged criminal activity all took place here in Springfield.
"We recognize that there is not one answer for guns and drugs in our community, but one response has to be the swift and effective prosecution of offenders," Interim Hampden County District Attorney James Orenstein said.
The sweep is being spoken of as a collaborative effort on every law enforcement front.
"This was a coordinated effort of the county, state, federal task force to look at the most prolific members," Barbieri said.
Sarno said the arrests are sending a heavy message to criminals who think they can set up shop in his city.
"We will be relentless when it comes to our attack on guns, gangs and drugs and we send a strong message that we're going to keep our streets safe and clean," Sarno said.
Resident Keyshan Gomez said that's something he'd like to see take place more often.
"It's about time, this place needed to be cleaned up. They need to crack down more," Gomez said.
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