In what authorities are calling a “coordinated takedown” aimed at violent and repeat criminals, federal and local law enforcement agencies arrested 44 people in the Charlotte area over a two-day period that began early Monday.

Of those arrested, 12 face federal gun and drug charges, and 32 are charged with state offenses. In addition, federal arrest warrants were issued for three individuals who, as of late Tuesday, were still at large, bringing to 15 the total number of those who will be prosecuted federally.

The arrests were part of the federal government’s Project Safe Neighborhoods, which targets individuals suspected of violence, gang activity, illegal gun possession and drug dealing. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said he would make such crackdowns a priority under the Trump administration.

The arrests were announced Tuesday by Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. He was joined by North Carolina Secretary of Public Safety Eric Hooks and Chief Kerr Putney of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

Chief Putney says Charlotte is safer today because of this work. Career criminals have been taken off the street.

— CMPD News (@CMPD) February 13, 2018

Murray said the arrests were “the result of a joint eight month investigation into repeat offenders who disregard public safety, violate our nation’s gun and drug laws, and pose a threat to the community.”

The 12 arrested on federal charges were:

· Abdul Nafir Barilford, 35, residence unknown.

· Mark Jefferson Belton, 29, of Charlotte.

· Amos Lamar Burch, 34, of Charlotte.

· Rodney Funderburk, 38, residence unknown.

· Elontrae Ali Glenn, 23, of Rock Hill, S.C.

· Rodriquez Harris, 43, of Charlotte.

· Rakeem McCullough, 28, of Charlotte.

· David DeAngelo McNeil, 37, of Charlotte (in federal custody).

· Rodriquez Neal, 23, of Charlotte.

• Rashad Taylor, 26, of Charlotte.

· Jimmy Ward, 42, of Cherryville, N.C. (previously in state custody)

· Montique Williams, 30, of Charlotte.

Authorities said law enforcement officials were still looking for three additional suspects — Daryl Brown, 49, Carlos Massey, 34, and Ishmerai Hem Ef Muhammad El, 37, all of Charlotte.

Putney said operations such as Project Safe Neighborhood play an important role in keeping Charlotte safe.

As we work to engage young people in positive ways, we also will continue to focus on violent, repeat offenders who bring illegal drugs and guns into our neighborhoods,” he said. “We will
continue to work together with our state and federal partners, along with our formal and informal community leaders, to identify and remove dangerous criminals from our community.”

Founder and publisher of Qcitymetro, Glenn has worked at newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Wall Street Journal and The Charlotte Observer.