MIAMI GARDENS (CBSMiami) – An investigation into gang violence in Miami Gardens led to the indictment of 22 people by a federal grand jury on Friday.
The charges against the defendants range from drug trafficking, armed drug trafficking, firearms dealings and possession of firearms by convicted felons.
According to United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Ariana Fajardo Orshan, some of the accused are members and associates of the Zone 3 gang, which is based in Miami Gardens.
The operation was conducted by about 200 federal and local law enforcement officers and 17 of the 22 criminals were arrested and taken into custody, Orshan said.
Authorities said they confiscated over 40 firearms, about 220 rounds of ammo, cash, several drugs including, cocaine, crack, heroin, fentanyl and marijuana, and drug paraphernalia as well.
The investigation was part of a ‘Violence Reduction Partnership’ involving officials from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Miami Field Division, the FBI Miami Field Office, Miami Gardens Police Department, Miami-Dade Police Department and the U.S. Marshals Service Miami Field Office.
“Today is truly a good day for our community, parts of which that have been terrorized by this group of violent individuals who have long-created chaos within the City of Miami Gardens. I am proud of our partnerships to include the Miami Gardens Police Department. This collaboration has led to the seizure of considerable evidence against this group to include more than 40 firearms,” said Special Agent in Charge Ari Shapira, ATF, Miami Field Division. As we all know, even one firearm in the wrong hands can destroy countless lives. This investigation proves that collaboration works, and demonstrates our commitment to combat gun violence and improve the communities of South Florida. We all want our communities in South Florida to be filled with the sounds of happy children playing outside, not the noise of stray gunfire that strikes fear in the hearts of parents. The people in Miami Gardens deserve no less.”
The completion of the investigation is not only considered a success for the federal law enforcement agencies, but for the Miami Gardens community as well.
“Today is a win for residents of Miami Gardens, South Florida, as well as the many law enforcement agencies that worked together to say collectively, we will not tolerate crimes of any nature,” said Mayor Oliver Gilbert. “We are thankful to everyone involved in this operation and for the collaboration with agencies like the ATF, FBI and DOJ who provided access to expanded resources during the course of this investigation. Our combined efforts and activities have resulted in dangerous individuals, drugs, and illegal guns being taken off our streets.”