WEST PALM BEACH (CBS4) – A year-long investigation into gangs in Palm Beach County has led to the arrest of nearly 100 people. Federal and local authorities announced the arrests Thursday.
Wilfredo Ferrer, the top U.S. prosecutor in South Florida, said the arrests were the result of a yearlong operation dubbed “Operation Smoking Gun II, aimed at combating violent criminals and gangs known to traffic guns and drugs.
Of those arrested, 49 were charged with federal crimes and 45 face state charges, several others remain at large.
Seized in the arrests were 331 guns, more than 14,000 painkillers and more than 4,000 tablets of Ecstasy, in addition to cocaine and marijuana.
U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer said, almost every day in South Florida, he sees the deadly consequences of gang violence.
“Gang and gun violence is not self-contained,” he said in a press release. “It is not limited to one gang member killing another or killing a rival. Gang and gun violence spills unto our streets and kills police officers, who are out there trying to protect us, kills bystanders going about their daily lives and kills innocent children playing in their yards.”
The operation, which took place mostly in Boynton Beach and unincorporated Palm Beach County, began in June 2010 after a similar operation in Broward County.
Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw says the sting amounts to “giving people back their lives and their neighborhoods.”
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