SPRINGFIELD –– The Springfield Police Firearms Investigation Unit (FIU) seized their 300th illegal firearm of the year during an operation on Thursday, November 2.
Under the leadership of Sgt. Christopher Hitas and Sgt. David Robillard, the FIU, alongside detectives, conducted a joint illegal gun and drug surveillance operation targeting two juveniles suspected of selling marijuana and possessing firearms.
The operation led to the arrest of three juveniles and 21-year-old Jorge Santiago on the 700 block of State Street.
The detectives observed the suspects, along with two others, inside a vehicle engaging in what appeared to be drug transactions across the city.
After the vehicle was parked, a traffic stop was initiated, during which the 15-year-old driver collided with a police vehicle.
Upon securing the vehicle’s four occupants, detectives discovered a loaded large-capacity firearm on a 16-year-old male, with 14 rounds of ammunition and the capacity to hold 15 rounds.
The search also yielded numerous bags of marijuana, over $750 in cash, an additional firearm magazine, and a loose round of ammunition.
Further ammunition and marijuana were found during a search at one of the juvenile’s homes.
Jorge Santiago, who is currently out on bail for prior firearms charges, was arrested alongside the juveniles.
Santiago had been previously detained twice since his April 2022 firearms arrest, once in July 2022 for illegal dirt bike riding without a license.
With the recovery of this weapon, the Springfield Police Department has now confiscated 305 illegal firearms this year, surpassing the total number from 2022.
The FIU alone is responsible for the seizure of 128 of these firearms.
Santiago faces charges of conspiracy to violate drug law and possession with intent to distribute a Class D drug.
Due to their age, the names and specific charges against the juveniles, two aged 16 and one aged 15, are not being released.