Friday, 22 October 2010

gangs are the 13 Avenue Hot Boyz and the 12 Court Cowboys.

dozen known gang members are off the streets along with 31 illegal weapons after Miami police went on the offensive in Operation Hammerhead. At a news conference Wednesday morning, Miami Police Chief Miguel Exposito announced the results of Operation Hammerhead, a several month operation designed to reduce crime in the city's Liberty Square Project.

In all, Chief Exposito said police got 31 guns off the street and made 14 arrests of gang members responsible for violent crimes.

The big priority was getting the illegal weapons off the street.

"This is the type of weapon we've taken off the street," said Chief Exposito as he held up an assault rifle. "This particular rifle was stolen in North Carolina."

The weapons, displayed on a two tables for reporters, could have taken many lives, according to the chief. They were confiscated from 14 members associated with two gangs arrested since April during this crackdown. The gangs are the 13 Avenue Hot Boyz and the 12 Court Cowboys.

"The result of Operation Hammerhead is proof of the Miami Police department's commitment to address violent crime even before it occurs," said Chief Exposito. "I am so proud of the work that the officers in the Miami Police Department have done."

Those arrested face a series of charges including possessing illegal weapons. Police say one young person was notorious. 18-year-old Timothy Smith, a 13 Avenue Hot Boyz leader, is alleged to have sold 17 guns to undercover officers.

"These officers are committed and determined to rid the city of gang activity. Liberty Square is a neighborhood just like any other neighborhood where good people deserve the right to live in peace and tranquility," said Exposito.

Operation Hammerhead focused on arms dealings and violent crimes in the Liberty Square Project that has been plagued by shootings including one that prompted community outrage in August when a 22-month old girl was shot in the foot by a stray bullet.

"I have no words to describe this. All I can say is these officers did a phenomenal job," said Exposito.

Four of the fourteen people arrested are juveniles. The chief said many are recruited by gang members at a very early age, which makes many Liberty Square residents applaud this crackdown.

"There's too much violence here. There are too many killings. Something needed to be done to stop this," said resident Mike Pratt.

Marvin Pratt agrees but said Operation Hammerhead is only part of the solution.

"This crackdown needs to continue. It can't just stop. And all this needs to go further. We need programs for the young kids. They don't have enough to do. Some of this violence has become ingrained in them. We need to work with these young kids," said Marvin Pratt.

"This needs to be part of a continuous operation," Pratt told CBS4's Peter D'Oench. "This can't just last a few months. This is great that these guns were taken away, but in the long run, we need to reach these kids when they are young. Find stuff to occupy them. Right now they have no jobs. They are desperate. They have nothing to. They have no type of training. They stay at home and raise themselves."


Related Posts with Thumbnails