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Federal gang sweep nabs 21 people from Tampa Bay area

TAMPA — Federal officials announced Wednesday the arrest of 21 Tampa Bay area gang members, apprehended in a nationwide sweep targeting those who funnel drugs through Mexico.

The three-month operation was U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's largest crackdown on gangs with ties to drug-trafficking organizations.

Authorities arrested 678 known gang members from 133 gangs across the country. Almost half of those arrested are in gangs who work with drug-trafficking organizations, according to ICE.

Among those arrested were eight gang members from Tampa, five from Clearwater, four from Bradenton, three from Palmetto and one from Ruskin.

Their gang affiliations include MS-13, SUR-13, Brown Pride, Latin Kings, 15th Street, Gangster Disciples and the Notorious Blood Gangsters, according to ICE.

Among those arrested nationwide, 322 had violent criminal histories, ICE announced.

During the sweep, agents seized 86 firearms, 8 pounds of methamphetamine, 30 pounds of marijuana, 1 pound of cocaine, about $70,000 in U.S currency and two vehicles.

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at (813) 226-3433 or jvandervelde@sptimes.com.

Federal gang sweep nabs 21 people from Tampa Bay area 03/02/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 2, 2011 11:55am]
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