Crime

Woman pleads guilty, 23 Latin Kings arrested in South Florida gang crackdown

This machine gun was found at the home of gang member Abigail Correa, 26, who pleaded guilty possessing guns as a convicted felon and selling marijuana.
This machine gun was found at the home of gang member Abigail Correa, 26, who pleaded guilty possessing guns as a convicted felon and selling marijuana.

Abigail Correa, a 26-year-old member of two prominent gangs, has been arrested in South Florida on charges of possessing guns as a convicted felon and selling marijuana. She pleaded guilty Thursday.

Correa’s arrest March 26 came just before federal agents rounded up 23 members of the notorious criminal gang Latin Kings in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. That roundup was announced by Miami U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer last Tuesday.

The gang arrests, Ferrer said in a statement Tuesday, is part of a national strategy to improve public safety by targeting violent criminal gangs.

“We are dedicated to improving public safety and the quality of life for law-abiding residents by protecting neighborhoods, adopting proactive law enforcement initiatives, and prosecuting repeat offenders, firearms violators and criminal networks,” Ferrer said.

There was no indication in Ferrer’s statement or the criminal complaint filed in Correa’s case that the woman was connected to the gang-member roundup. Correa belonged not to Latin Kings but to the gangs known as Gangster Disciples and Folk Nation. While Latin Kings emerged in the 1940s, Gangster Disciples and Folk Nation were formed, respectively, in the 1960s and 1970s. But all three gangs had their roots in Chicago.

Correa’s case began in February when a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO) deputy followed up on a tip that a convicted felon had been seen holding a weapon. Federal law prohibits convicted felons from possessing weapons.

While checking Instagram, the deputy spotted Correa in a video firing a black revolver, according to a criminal complaint filed by a special agent of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The deputy knew Correa was a convicted felon and a gang member, according to the complaint.

The deputy obtained a search warrant for Correa’s residence in West Palm Beach, and on March 5, PBSO deputiesarrested Correa and at least two other occupants of the house.

Officers found a small arsenal that included ammunition, a .38 revolver and a PPS-42 fully automatic machine gun.

Inside a dresser, officers found a clear sandwich bag containing marijuana. The complaint said officers also found a black scale, possible evidence that the defendant was involved in marijuana sales.

After being arrested, the complaint says, Correa acknowledged that she was prohibited from having weapons because she was a convicted felon. But Correa argued that she needed weapons for protection because some people believed that her residence was a drug stash house. Correa also told officers that the marijuana they found in the house was for her personal use.

She was arraigned May 1 and initially pleaded not guilty. Trial was tentatively set for June, but on Thursday changed her plea to guilty.

She’s scheduled to be sentenced in July.

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