JSO Collars 23 In Gang Crackdown
A prevalent local street gang has been dealt “a serious blow,” according to Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford.
Twenty-three people have been arrested in connection with gang-related crimes in a months-long investigation known as “Operation Dead End.”
“Some very dangerous criminals have been taken off our streets,” Rutherford said during a press conference Friday.
He was joined by State Attorney Angela Corey, Assistant State Attorney Richard Mantei as well as members of several other law enforcement agencies that assisted the office, including the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Most of the nearly two-dozen individuals collared in the operation are affiliated with a street gang known as the Pakastan Yulee Clique, or PYC.
The group has been responsible for a string of home burglaries and drug-related crimes in the city, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
Rutherford said the sweep stemmed from a January 2013 homicide investigation in the Junior Street area of the New Town community.
“With the help of ATF, we used investigative techniques and surveillance to determine who the kingpins were,” he said.
Officers eventually intercepted a drug shipment en route to Jacksonville from California holding 11 kilos of cocaine, 20 pounds of marijuana and more than 50 pounds of crack cocaine.
Currently, PYC has about 60 members and there are a total of 46 different gangs in Jacksonville, Rutherford said.
Those in custody face a laundry list of felony charges, ranging from drug trafficking to racketeering-related offenses.
“We’re going to take this population out of the community for a very long time,” Rutherford said.
The Sheriff’s Office is still seeking two others in connection with the crimes and the investigation remains active.
You can follow Rhema Thompson on Twitter @RhemaThompson.