AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Police seized 61 guns and made 130 arrests during South by Southwest as part of a violent crimes initiative aimed at preventing gun crime and human trafficking.

Five people were arrested on solicitation of prostitution charges, a second-degree felony, with a charge enhancement for soliciting a minor. Pounds and pounds of narcotics were also seized:

  • 250 pounds of marijuana
  • 309 pounds of THC edibles
  • 65 pounds of psilocybin edibles
  • 2.5 ounces of crack cocaine
  • 2.3 ounces of heroin
  • 2 ounces of methamphetamines
  • 2 ounces of promethazine
  • 1/2 kilo of fentanyl
  • 3.53 g pills of fentanyl
  • $10,000 cash seized

The initiative took place from March 11 to March 19 and was a collaboration with state and federal partners.

“This initiative highlights our focus to keep our Austin community safe and the efficacy of taking proactive measures to combat violent crimes.” APD Chief Joseph Chacon said.

This comes after a busy two weeks for police, who made dozens of arrests and seized guns in the Entertainment District downtown, which includes East Sixth Street, and during traffic stops in the surrounding area.

Last Sunday, one overnight shooting on Sixth Street sent four people to the hospital. That was less than 48 hours after police arrested someone for illegally carrying on Neches Street and East Sixth, the exact location of the early Sunday morning shooting. 

Ken Casaday, president of the Austin Police Association, told KXAN Sunday these arrests and seizures of guns prove APD is working aggressively to address gun violence downtown. 

“From what I understand, over the last five days down in the Sixth Street area, they seized over 50 firearms. And then I think 19 last night before we even had a shooting. So I know the officers are doing their jobs, and they have been for a long period of time. The problem is, we’re not prosecuting people, we’re arresting people for felon in possession of a firearm, unlawfully carrying a weapon,” Casaday said. 

APD said the purpose of Thursday’s update is to continue transparency with a focus on building trust within the community through information sharing.