Feds Accuse 39 Gang Members of Arms, Drug Trafficking in Pasco
The 39 were members of the “Unforgiven” and “United Aryan Brotherhood” gangs, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
TAMPA – U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announced Thursday (Nov. 15) the culmination of a long-term investigation, dubbed “Operation Blackjack,” into arms and narcotics trafficking activities, centered in Pasco County.
As a result, 39 individuals have been charged with various federal firearms and drug violations. (Please see chart below for details). The indictments also notify the defendants that the U.S. intends to have them forfeit the firearms used in these offenses and any proceeds traceable to the offenses. The 39 were members of the “Unforgiven” and “United Aryan Brotherhood” gangs, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“We will continue to use every tool at our disposal to prosecute those who persist in purveying violent crime and drug trafficking on our streets,” Chapa Lopez said. “We are committed to working with our partners to render our communities safe for our citizens in the Middle District of Florida.”
Special Agent in Charge Daryl McCrary from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive said, “ATF’s primary focus is protecting the public by reducing violent crime. ATF continues to aggressively pursue violent offenders and will work with our law enforcement partners to protect and serve our communities.”
Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco said, “The Pasco Sheriff’s Office is proud of the partnership it has with the Department of Justice. Taking illegally possessed guns and criminals off the street will have a positive impact on the safety of our community.”
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
Operation Blackjack arose out of a partnership between the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the State Attorney’s Office for the Sixth Judicial Circuit, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Pasco Sheriff’s Office. The cases will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Violent Crimes and Narcotics Section.
These cases were brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a program that brings together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make neighborhoods safer for everyone. In the Middle District of Florida, Chapa Lopez coordinates PSN efforts in cooperation with various federal, state, and local law enforcement officials.
This investigation is also the result of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces program. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s drug supply.
#USAttorney #Crime #TampabayNews