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June Deadliest Month In Baltimore In 7 Years; Federal-Local Partnership Aims To Solve More Homicides

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- This week, WJZ has placed a spotlight on unsolved murders and the pain of families in Baltimore that are not getting justice in a 'Crime Without Punishment' series in partnership with CBS News.

Now, WJZ is looking at solutions. 

CBS News obtained access to the warehouse-turned-war-room against some of the most violent individuals and groups in Baltimore where federal and local law enforcement are working together.

Maryland's U.S. Attorney Erik Barron hopes the law enforcement officials who work in the warehouse, known as the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, are the key to reversing the trend of rising homicides. 

It is a collective effort by more than 18 agencies investigating Baltimore's most brazen drug syndicates, alongside a special intelligence unit that identifies connections among the city's hundreds of uncleared murder cases.

"The law enforcement community is so balkanized," Barron said. "You've got local, state, federal. Here is where we can put all or most of them together in one place, sharing information, working together."

One of the task force's success stories was indicting members of the Triple C gang, behind at least 18 homicides and almost 30 attempted homicides. 

Two gang members were charged with shooting Baltimore Police Sergeant Isaac Carrington in 2019.

The sergeant survived being shot multiple times during a robbery.

This week, two Triple C members pleaded guilty to murder and attempted murder in several other cases. 

Every day, members of the federal strike force are briefed on recent shootings and look for ties to gangs under investigation and the possibility of bringing federal charges that typically carry longer sentences.

Intelligence analyst William Nickoles presides over a map that shows at least 338 homicides across the city in the last year alone. Nickoles worked the streets for more than 20 years as a Baltimore police officer.

"The first thing I'm looking for is really to see whether or not our victim has anything to do with any of our cases," Nickoles said. "Because, you know, if that's the case, then it seems the logical thought would be, it has something to do with (an) ongoing investigation."

Despite the efforts, Baltimore's homicides in 2022 are still higher than this time last year—with 180 on July 1st compared with 166 at this time in 2021. The city is again on track to surpass 300 killings.

Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison called the task force a "critical tool in the violent crime fight." 

"This strike force is demonstrating its ability to investigate and dismantle these violent crimes and drug trafficking organizations in a way that local law enforcement can't do alone," Harrison said in a statement to CBS News.

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