New ATF initiative using new tech helping get violent criminals off the street

Channel 2 Action News is taking you inside the ATF gun vault, where new technology is helping agents track down suspects in dozens of shootings.

A new team of federal agents and local investigators has identified suspects in 25 violent crimes, including murder.

Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Mark Winne was inside the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms gun vault in DeKalb County on Monday.

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The new tech could mean justice for victims who might not have gotten it otherwise.

ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge Alicia Jones said a new team of ATF, explosives agents and task force officers nicknamed NET has netted big leads in more than two dozen crimes in metro Atlanta since last spring.

NET stands for the “NIBIN Enforcement Team,” which specifically targets guns that have been used in crimes. NIBIN stands for the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network, where test-fired cartridge casings from guns recovered off the streets from crimes can quickly be checked against a database of cartridge casings recovered from thousands of crime scenes.


If technicians make a match, guns taken off the street can often be linked to a specific person, so the computer match often ties a previously unknown suspect to a crime scene, giving local police a crucial new lead.

Jones works closely with Atlanta police on NET and other initiatives targeting violent criminals and their guns.

“AFT’s missing of going after the most violent criminals affecting our communities is something I believe in heavily,” Jones aid.

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Jones has working for ATF in six cities, but began her career in Atlanta on the streets, sometimes working undercover.

“My area was gangs, guns and narcotics and those were armed narcotics dealers, so that’s 100% what I worked when I was in Atlanta,” Jones said.

Jones said those three things are the biggest drivers of homicides in metro Atlanta.

Retired Atlanta police homicide ace David Quinn said he worked with a young agent Jones starting in 2007 on a then-unprecedented gang investigation in which eight murders were cleared with a successful trial focused on one.

“Alicia was amazing,” Quinn said. “I mean, she was hungry, young. The fact that she was a fed too was so unassuming. We ended up making history.”

Jones said her values come from her parents and the Presbyterian church.

“My parents were very religious. Very patriotic and very much instilled in us a sense of right and wrong,” Jones said.

Jones said that with ATF, she’s able to affect change in the community and affect a positive change and remove some of the most violent offenders in metro Atlanta.