Skip to main content You are here U.S. Attorneys » Eastern District of California » News SHARE Department of Justice U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of California FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, December 17, 2020 U.S. Attorney Scott Announces Results from Joint Initiative to Reduce Ongoing Violence in Vallejo Operation PEACE partners federal and local law enforcement agencies to fight violent crime and bring to justice those responsible for murders and shootings in Vallejo SACRAMENTO, Calif. — U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announces outcomes in Operation PEACE, an initiative launched in Vallejo in August 2020 in response to the increased number of homicides, non-fatal shootings and other violent crimes in Vallejo. By late August 2020, the city had recorded 19 homicides, as well as a significant uptick in shootings and other violent crimes. Beginning in September 2020, the Vallejo Police Department expanded the reach of Operation PEACE through a partnership formed between the Vallejo Police Department, the Solano County District Attorney’s Office, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Operation PEACE leverages the strength of these federal and local law enforcement agencies by focusing enforcement operations on violent criminals, including those responsible for murders and shootings, and targets involved in drug trafficking and firearms trafficking. “Operation PEACE has successfully taken armed, violent criminals off the streets of Vallejo,” U.S. Attorney Scott said. “These successes will continue as the partnership between federal and local law enforcement agencies continue and bring about a safer Vallejo.” “We must all remember that behind the statistics are real people experiencing real trauma,” Vallejo Chief of Police Shawny Williams stated. “Our community needs and deserves our compassion, service and commitment during times of difficulty and we are hopeful that Operation PEACE will help us achieve that goal.” “Drug traffickers often use violence, fear and intimidation as tactics. They have little regard for human life or the communities in which they live. They profit off the pain and suffering of people,” stated DEA Special Agent in Charge Daniel C. Comeaux. “Spikes in violent crime require a swift, calculated, and intel-driven law enforcement response like this one. We will continue to collaborate with our law enforcement partners to ensure the health and safety of the community.” “I am truly grateful for the assistance and cooperation of all the local and federal law enforcement partners who remain committed to reducing the gun violence throughout our community,” said District Attorney Krishna Abrams. “The FBI and our Solano County Violent Crime Task Force affirmed our commitment to the region by surging resources to support Operation PEACE in Vallejo and the urgent need to reduce violent crime in the community. Together, with our task force officers from the Vallejo Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Solano County Sheriff’s Office, Benicia Police Department, Fairfield Police Department, and Vacaville Police Department, our investigative and analytic teams have dedicated more than 3,200 service hours to ensure the success of our collaborative local, state, and federal efforts to reduce violent crime in Vallejo,” said Special Agent in Charge Sean Ragan of the FBI Sacramento Field Office. “Every family should have the opportunity to live, work, and play without fear, and we ask the community to join us in our stand against violence. You can make a difference. If you have information about crime in your community, call our tip line or submit information online to help ensure a safe environment in all of our neighborhoods.” “The U.S. Marshals Service task force committed over 40 officers for this operation to help relieve the fear and violence of those who live in the City of Vallejo,” U.S. Marshal Lasha Boyden said. “As a result of teamwork and partnership, we were able to track and apprehend some of Vallejo’s most violent offenders.” “Operation PEACE was a multi-agency law enforcement investigation related to the ongoing violent criminal activity in the city of Vallejo,” said Special Agent in Charge Patrick Gorman, San Francisco Field Division, ATF. “Protecting the public is at the forefront of ATF’s mission, and while working side by side with our partners, ATF focused on our central role in combatting gun violence. Together, the law enforcement agencies involved in this investigation leveraged our resources and specialties to reduce the illegal use and possession of firearms, as well as the illegal distribution of narcotics in the Vallejo area. ATF and our law enforcement partners have made a tremendous effort to make the city of Vallejo a safer community, and we remain committed in doing our part to disrupt the shooting cycle by identifying, investigating, and prosecuting violent criminals and the sources of their crime guns, and remove them from our communities. ” “HSI agents were highly focused on stopping these criminals’ lawless reign of shootings, narcotics trafficking and a number of other illegal activities. The success of this case was made possible through the partnership of HSI with the Vallejo Police Department, FBI, ATF, DEA, the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Solano County District Attorney. We look forward to continuing our valuable partnership, as we combat modern slavery known as human trafficking, gang violence, and a host of other criminal activities that have no place in Northern California,” said HSI NorCal Special Agent in Charge Tatum King. In the first phase of Operation PEACE, during the week of Sept. 21–25, the Marshals Service and Vallejo Police Department apprehended 25 fugitives who were violent offenders with outstanding state and federal arrest warrants, including fugitives wanted for lewd and lascivious acts on a minor and resisting arrest. In the second phase of Operation PEACE, the DEA spearheaded an effort to target violent offenders engaged in large-scale drug trafficking within Vallejo and suppliers outside of Vallejo. Using confidential informants and undercover agents, the Operation PEACE teams conducted over 12 controlled drug purchases, which led to multiple search and arrests operations. These efforts led to the federal prosecution the following: Michael Williams, 58, and Clarence Courtney, 55, both of Vallejo, were charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin and methamphetamine, distribution of heroin, distribution of methamphetamine, and possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine. Courtney is also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. Because Courtney has four prior drug trafficking felony convictions, he is prohibited from possessing a firearm. According to court documents, Williams sold an undercover agent over 2 pounds of crystal methamphetamine and over 1 ounce (32 grams) of heroin between September and November 2020. Courtney sourced the methamphetamine and heroin to Williams. On Dec. 3, agents arrested Williams and Courtney and found them to be in possession of over 3 pounds of methamphetamine. Agents later found a ghost-gun assault rifle, a handgun, and over 100 rounds of ammunition in Courtney’s residence. Williams also has an extensive criminal history, with seven prior felonies for drug trafficking, theft, and burglary. Darren Tramaine Tony Mitchell, 30, and Ronald John Garnes, 42, both of Vallejo, were charged with conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, and possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine. Mitchell was also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. Mitchell, who has seven prior felony convictions for drug trafficking, burglary, and firearms offenses, is prohibited from possessing a firearm. When agents searched the residence where Mitchell and Garnes both lived, they found an active methamphetamine tablet manufacturing operation that included a pill press, pill binding materials, manufacturing equipment, and thousands of methamphetamine tablets shaped like superheroes. They also found an assault rifle and a handgun in the dishwasher in the kitchen. Garnes also has an extensive criminal history, with five prior felony convictions. He had recently been released from prison after a conviction for attempted murder. Marques Julius Johnson, 39, of Sacramento, and Calvin James Smith, 32, were charged in criminal complaints with distribution and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Johnson was also charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. According to court documents, undercover operatives conducted multiple purchases of counterfeit MDMA tablets containing methamphetamine from Johnson in Vallejo. On Dec. 9, Johnson and Smith were arrested together during an undercover purchase in Vallejo and found to be in possession of 6,000 methamphetamine tablets and a loaded pistol. Smith was also found carrying an AR-15, loaded with a high capacity magazine. The above cases are the product of investigations by DEA Sacramento with assistance from HSI, FBI, ATF, and the Vallejo Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Desmond is prosecuting the cases against Courtney and Mitchell, Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexis Nelsen is prosecuting the case against Johnson. Brian Earl Turner, 32, of Vallejo, was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. According to court documents, on Sept. 16, Turner possessed a Glock 27, .40‑caliber handgun. Turner has been convicted of assault on a person with a semi‑automatic firearm and is prohibited from possessing a firearm. Lamonte Eshawn Percoats, 33, of Vallejo, was charged with possession with intent to distribute heroin, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. According to court documents, on Sept. 29, Percoats possessed a Taurus 9 mm, and at least 100 grams of heroin. Percoats has been convicted of four prior convictions: possession of a controlled substance while armed, assault with a deadly weapon (not a firearm), being a felon in possession of a firearm, and an assault with a deadly weapon. These prior convictions prohibit Percoats from possessing a firearm. The cases against Turner and Percoats are the product of investigations by the Solano County Violent Crime Task Force, which includes the following law enforcement partnerships: Vallejo Police Department, Vacaville Police Department, Fairfield Police Department, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Solano County Sheriff’s Office, California Highway Patrol, Benicia Police Department and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jill Thomas is prosecuting both cases. The charges are only allegations, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.  During these investigations, Operation PEACE partners took multiple dangerous high-capacity firearms and drugs off the street. The Solano County District Attorney’s Office continues to work with the Operation PEACE Partners for local prosecutions of violent offenders and is coordinating with the U.S. Attorney’s Office regarding the federal adoption of certain cases. Phase two of Operation PEACE is ongoing and will continue to target violent subjects committing crimes in Vallejo until the violence stops. Some of these efforts include complex, long-term investigations that are likely to result in future state and federal prosecutions of violent individuals. Operation PEACE will continue to hold those responsible for violence in our community through enforcement and prosecutions in effort to break the cycle of violence. Component(s):  USAO – California, Eastern Updated December 18, 2020     FOLLOW US ON TWITTER…FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK…   REPORT FRAUD FROM THE CALIFORNIA FIRES https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/video/psa-national-center-disaster-fraud OPIOID AWARENESS SUMMIT FOR EDUCATORS Adobe Giving back to the community through a variety of venues & initiatives. Help us combat the proliferation of sexual exploitation crimes against children. Afraid your child is being bullied or is bullying others? Find helpful resources at: http://www.stopbullying.gov   Ensuring that victims of federal crimes are treated with compassion, fairness, and respect.   Find helpful resources to prevent and respond to elder abuse. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policy Legal Policies & Disclaimers Justice.gov USA.gov

🆘 Help for our Community

Homerenter Declaration

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You might be protected from eviction until the end of the year by a new Order from the Centers for Disease Control.

But. To get the protections, you need to send your landlord a Declaration.

This tool allows you to review, sign and email the Declaration from within this app. However, you may prefer to simply print, sign, and date the Declaration yourself.

Here is a copy of the Declaration. (And here are translations of the Declaration in 20 different languages.

A nonprofit called the Kentucky Equal Justice Center created this tool. Because the Order applies nationwide, it should be useful to homerenters regardless of what state a homerenter lives in.

If you use this app but decide to mail the Declaration later, this app will also generate a basic letter to your landlord to include with the Declaration. This letter is not required, only the Declaration.

KEJC is not your lawyer. You can find your local legal aid organization anywhere in the nation here. If you have specific questions or problems, it’s super important to get legal help from lawyers near you.

About the CDC’s Order

To protect public health during a global pandemic, the Center for Disease Control issued an Order that halt an eviction after a homerenter sends a Declaration to their landlord. Homerenters do not have these eviction protections if they do not send the Declaration to their landlord. (We use the term “homerenters” because “homeowners” aren’t the only people who have homes. People who rent houses or apartments have homes, too.)

These eviction protections last from September 4th to December 31st.

About the Declaration Required

A homerenter must be able to say “yes” to the following statements:

  • I have used best efforts to obtain rental assistance;
  • My 2020 income is less than $99,000 (or $198,000 if filing jointly), or I did not have to pay income tax in 2019, or I received a stimulus check this year (2020);
  • I am unable to pay rent due to income loss or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses;
  • I would become homeless or need to double-up if evicted;
  • I will still “use best efforts” to make partial payments;
  • I understand that my landlord may require payment in full for all missed payments at the end of the eviction protections (December 31).

About this tool

The CDC’s Order provides a template for a homerenter declaration. You can use this app to generate a custom Declaration for your landlord.

There are 4️⃣ steps to this app:

  1. Provide your address;
  2. Tell us how you want to send the Declaration to your landlord (email or mail);
  3. Review and download (if mailing later) the documents, and
  4. If you want, email the declaration to your landlord, yourself, or someone else.

This app shouldn’t take long to complete, but if you get interrupted or you need to get some information (your landlord’s email address or something), you can click the “Save and Continue Later” button at the bottom of any page and we’ll send you a link to pick up where you left off.

Things to remember

  • Homerenters 🚨can still be evicted🚨 for reasons other than nonpayment of rent.
  • Each adult living in the property should review, sign, and send a separate Declaration.
  • There are criminal penalties for violations of or untruths in the Declaration.
  • The CDC issued new, landlord-friendly guidance on Friday, October 9th. 🤬 The guidance makes it clear that landlords can:
  1. file evictions (just not remove people from rental property) before January 1, 2021, and
  2. challenge the truthfulness of the statements in a homerenter’s Declaration in Court.

👇 Because of this new guidance…👇

  • It is 🙏🏻essential🙏🏻 that you connect with a legal aid organization in your area after sending the Declaration to your landlord. Because of the CDC’s unfortunate October 9th guidance, you need a lawyer’s help to make the promise of these eviction protections a reality. Landlords can still pursue evictions under certain circumstances. Your rights may vary depending on what state (or what part of your state) you live in. You may have more rights than what we told you about! Please, connect with a local legal aid organization for location-specific information, legal help and, perhaps, rental assistance.
  • You may find more information specifically about the CDC’s eviction protections helpful. Here are answers to frequently asked questions from the National Low Income Housing Coalition about the CDC’s Order. And, the National Housing Law Project has written a detailed analysis of the protections.
  • By clicking “Continue” you understand and agree that KEJC will process the personal information you provide to us. We will use your data to help you prepare the documents for the legal matters described on this website and communicate with you in the future. You understand and agree that KEJC is not your attorney. Follow the link above to find a legal aid organization in your community.

Housing is a human right. Before the pandemic, during the pandemic, after the pandemic.

Okay, ready? Let’s go! 🚀Continue

Campaign for All

Launching a campaign includes many hurdles. First, deciding to run. Second, how to run. Filing papers – the first of many papers – with at least 20 signatures. Getting at least 20 signatures was easy and I submitted the recommended 30. The harder part was validating the signatures.

Vote for Helen Marie “Cookie” Gordon, Councilmember, District 6

After filing candidate papers with the City Clerk, I received notification that my candidate papers did not qualify. With the help of friends, we researched the election code and the definition of “valid signatures”. The Registrar of Voters labeled three signatures as “wrong address”, even though these voters only moved to a new apartment within the same complex. Per the election code, as long as the street address matches the registration, the voter’s signature is still valid. The City Attorney read my letter advocating for these voters and qualified my candidate papers.

Per the City of Vallejo’s website, the council’s decision for District Elections attempts to: 1) remedy the “disenfranchisement of minority voters”; 2) provide “the opportunity [for minorities and other members of protected classes’] to have representation of their choosing at the local level”; and 3) allow “minority candidates (racial or political) …a better opportunity to be elected”. 

By advocating for these voter’s registration status, community members who signed my candidate papers nominated a representative of their choosing and a minority candidate was allowed a better opportunity to be elected by displaying my name on the ballot. Now, I can truly represent all of District 6.

Vote for Helen Marie “Cookie” Gordon, Councilmember, District 6