Baltimore officials have retreated from criticizing federal agencies for their role in a joint investigation of feuding drug rings, emphasizing instead the collaborative nature of the process and the many times the feds have come to Baltimore’s aid, the Baltimore Sun reports. Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld said the department’s “strong partnership” with federal law enforcement is a “critical piece of [its] crime fighting strategy.” Mayor Sheila Dixon’s spokesman said the U.S. Attorney’s office “has done a good job – a wonderful job, actually – in their work in Baltimore City.”
The sentiments appeared to be a politic turnaround from earlier comments calling for the feds to “step up” their efforts to end at least 16 months of drug-related violence that has left casualties in its wake, including a pregnant woman and a toddler, who were among a dozen victims shot at a cookout Sunday. The rivals are alleged to have kidnapped, killed and swindled each other since spring 2008. And at least one armed his associates with weapons and instructions to “commit acts of violence toward anybody related to” his enemies, an affidavit says. Some law enforcement sources have complained that the feds have dropped the ball. But federal prosecutors have won convictions and lengthy prison terms for two people linked to the feud, and now are prosecuting a third, while state charges have often fallen through against the same defendants.