Six Month Undercover Investigation results in 63 arrests
Sheriff Ken Mascara announced that a six-month-long undercover investigation result in:
- 63 arrest including 30 known gang members
- the seizure of 58 firearms
- many from convicted felons.
According to the Sheriff, the investigation was spawned from a previous undercover drug operation in the 1300 block of N. 24th Street that ended in July. Arrests made in that operation, along with intelligence gathered from its investigation led detectives to additional criminal targets.
“Our operation in July provided evidence and intelligence that the house on 24th Street was just a front for a much larger operation that was being run by members of the 10th Street Gang,” said Sheriff Ken J. Mascara. “It was too dangerous for drug users to buy drugs on 10th Street, so the gang set up a shell house on 24th Street to provide a safer environment for their drug transactions.”
The 10th Street Gang joined forces with the 23rd Street Gang and moved the operation to 23rd Street.
“These two gangs are highly violent and connected to drug sales and trafficking, numerous car and ATV thefts, home invasions and shootings throughout the county,” Mascara said. “To strengthen our investigative efforts, we partnered with the ATF, U.S. Attorney’s Office, State Attorney and Fort Pierce Police Department.”
According to the Sheriff, the multi-agency task force worked together. They researched pasts. Then they looked at unsolved crimes and cross-referenced known gang associates and members. Intelligence was gathered from throughout the community to develop a list of targets. This work on the front-end ensured that each person arrested would face the maximum penalty in either state or federal prison.
“The result of these joint efforts was the arrest of 63 individuals who abused drugs, created a dangerous and at times deadly environment for our community and preyed on our residents,” Mascara said. Their business of crime and terror has ended.”
According to the Sheriff, with the ATF and the U.S. Attorney as partners in this operation, eight of the 63 arrested were federally indicted. The remaining 55 were charged with state criminal violations. All were booked into the St. Lucie County Jail.