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28 arrests in Hillsborough gang sweep

Hillsborough deputies seized 24 weapons as part of  Operation Gang’s Over. As of Thursday, deputies had arrest warrants for 52 people.

DANNY VALENTINE | Times

Hillsborough deputies seized 24 weapons as part of  Operation Gang’s Over. As of Thursday, deputies had arrest warrants for 52 people.

TAMPA — On the table in the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office were more than a dozen rifles, shotguns and handguns.

Some of the weapons were powerful enough to penetrate bulletproof vests, others tiny enough to be stuffed in a pocket. One had a long bayonet attached to the end.

All of them belonged to gang members.

Deputies displayed the weapons Thursday while announcing the first day of a countywide gang roundup.

Sheriff's deputies arrested 28 people from various gangs Thursday morning, including members of the Bloods, the Black MOB and the Progressive Village Boys. Deputies have arrest warrants for another 24 people.

"It feels good to get them off the street," sheriff's detective David Evarts said. "It's very satisfying."

The arrests are a result of a seven-month undercover operation called Operation Gang's Over in which undercover deputies bought weapons and drugs.

Most of those arrested in the roundup face drug and weapons charges, with potential sentences ranging from 12 months to 25 years, Evarts said.

In addition to 24 weapons, deputies recovered 6.6 pounds of cocaine, 2.2 pounds of methamphetamine and 1.1 pounds of crack cocaine.

Deputies said the operation happened simultaneously with another anti-gang operation called Operation Under Pressure.

Since June 1, 33 accused players in a multitiered, multimillion-dollar drug ring have been federally indicted in that investigation. Many are members from the Palm River and Progress Village area, deputies said.

Authorities have seized 88 pounds of powder cocaine, 1,200 pounds of marijuana, 1.1 pounds of crack cocaine, $600,000, 13 vehicles, a watercraft, trailers and several firearms.

"The gangs are used to putting fear into the community," Evarts said. "Law enforcement is putting the fear back into the gangs."

28 arrests in Hillsborough gang sweep 08/26/10 [Last modified: Thursday, August 26, 2010 10:04pm]
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