Crime

Grand jury indicts two dozen in relation to Miami Gardens gang violence investigation

Police investigate shooting in Miami Gardens

Two Miami-Dade police officers opened fire on an SUV during an attempted traffic stop Monday morning in Miami Gardens. Miami-Dade detective, Marjorie Eloi, holds a press conference in Miami Gardens near the crime scene on Monday, May 30, 2016.
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Two Miami-Dade police officers opened fire on an SUV during an attempted traffic stop Monday morning in Miami Gardens. Miami-Dade detective, Marjorie Eloi, holds a press conference in Miami Gardens near the crime scene on Monday, May 30, 2016.

A joint investigation by the Miami Gardens Police Department and federal agencies into the criminal conduct of street gangs in and around Miami Gardens resulted in the indictment of two dozen people, with some individuals said to be associated with “Zone 3,” a Miami Gardens-based gang. Seventeen of the 22 indicted were arrested; five suspects still remained at large late Friday.

The individuals were arrested on charges including drug trafficking, dealing in firearms and firearm possession by convicted felons.

Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, announced the development Friday at a news conference, reported WPLG Local 10. The Miami Gardens police took part in a joint operation with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Department of Justice and the FBI. The operation involved about 200 federal and local law enforcement officers.

Seized items from Friday’s operation included more than 40 firearms, 220 rounds of assorted ammunition, drug paraphernalia, crack, cocaine, heroin, fentanyl and other drugs, according to a press release.

The joint investigation into gang violence has been going on for about 18 months.

“As demonstrated by these charges and the arrests this morning, our commitment to combating violent crime and drug trafficking in the City of Miami Gardens is unrelenting,” Orshan said in a statement.

While overall crime in some of Miami-Dade’s largest cities dropped from 2017-2018, Miami Gardens saw a 16 percent uptick, according to reports from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Carlos Austin, Miami Gardens police public information officer, said the department is hopeful the arrests will curb the city’s violent crime.

“We really hope that taking these people off the streets, that our violent crime will go down,” Austin told the Herald.

Austin said it is still not clear whether defendants have any relation to recent Miami Garden killings.

“We don’t know that yet,” Austin said. “That’s why our investigation is continuing, and we want to make sure we get to the bottom [of it.]”

Before Friday’s indictments and arrests, seven individuals had been arrested on federal charges and 24 had been arrested on state charges in relation to the joint investigation and the trafficking of narcotics and firearms, according to Miami Gardens police.

The following suspects remain at large, according to WPLG Local 10: Michael Hardaway, Sonya Spivey, Jacqueline Spivey, Eric Ransom and Steven Alcime.

“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,” Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert said in a statement. “Our combined efforts and activities have resulted in dangerous individuals, drugs, and illegal guns being taken off our streets.”

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