Thirty eight gang members from the Latin Kings, Top 6, and Sur-13 have been federally indicted following a 16-month investigation, the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office announced Thursday.
The massive operation, dubbed Operation Check Mate, began in August 2013, and was set up to disrupt and dismantle the narcotics trafficking by the Latin Kings, the PBSO says. The operation involved 30 detectives and agents and also included 300 officers from the FBI, PBSO and BSO. Through the operation, 42 people were indicted, with 38 currently in custody.
One suspect was found in Boston, while another was nabbed in Fort Pierce. The rest were found and arrested in Palm Beach County.
Charges include conspiracy to distribute controlled substance of powder cocaine, crack cocaine, and heroin, as well as federal gun charges. In all, Operation Check Mate confiscated $35,000 in cash, and 22 firearms.
"What gang members need to know is this: We're going to come after you faster and harder than we ever have," said Sheriff Ric Bradshaw during the press conference announcing the indictments. "So if you're a gang member in this county, you need to look behind you because we're not going to stop."
PBSO also announced that over 20,000 man hours have been invested in the operation, and that this is just the start for the county's gang task force.
"You're talking about 36 violent gang members arrested and taken off the streets in this county," said Sgt. John McGwire.
There were 750 felony arrests combined in the background of those arrested. Of the 42 indicted, 36 were gang members in Palm Beach County, most of which are members of the Latin Kings.
"This is a significant arrest," Bradshaw said.
Operation Check Mate 38 violent felons were arrested/indicted. 30+ arrests were gang members from "Sur-13", "TOP 6" & "Latin Kings" #BUSTED— PBSO (@PBCountySheriff) February 19, 2015
"Here's the proof of what we're capable of doing between us and our federal partners," Bradshaw added.