MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – About 100 people were arrested Wednesday in 'Operation Smoking Gun III,' one of the largest efforts to fight drug and weapons trafficking, and money laundering in South Florida.
Police said detectives and undercover agents from multiple agencies worked as a team to target illegal firearm and drug trafficking, including the sale of prescription drugs, in Miami-Dade County
"Guns plus drugs always equal violence and death," said Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle. "Gun violence and its associated activity has stolen people's peace of mind."
The seizures included 248 firearms, 342 grams of crack cocaine, 1,728 grams of cocaine, 634 grams of heroin, 2,874 Oxycodone pills, 576 Percocet pills, 10 Morphine pills and 15,208 grams of marijuana.
"We have crack cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, Oxycodone pills, marijuana, Percocet, bulletproof vests," said U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer.
All of these were seized through a year-long undercover investigation dubbed "Operation Smoking Gun III."
"This investigation focused on gang members, drug dealers. Some are gang members, others are not," said Ferrer.
Mugshots were snapped of just 45 of the 97 men and women arrested during the latest operation and facing charges ranging from drug possession to trafficking.
Sixteen suspects were picked up on Wednesday alone, connected to drug related crime and violence in Miami Gardens, netting the largest seizure of its kind recently in Miami-Dade County.
Some of the suspects include: Alex Brown, 23; Andrew Harris, 38; Aundrice Moss, 31; Benjamin Nelson, 27; Charles Halls, 22; Christian Brown, 28; Darius Malcom, 21; Diego Joseph Saunders, 20; James White, 24; Keith Pratt, 49; Kelvin Espirt, 36; Larry Williams Jr., 32; Odumeqwu Ingram, 40; Patrick Lane, 52, and Sonya Spivey, 43.
If convicted, some could face up to life in prison.
"Here in South Florida, we are targeting the worst of the worst," said Ferrer.
"We've heard your cries to stem criminal activity and we understand that we can't do it alone to make the quality of life better," Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert said.
"It's not just one drug dealer killing another or an enemy. This violence spills onto our streets," said Ferrer. "It kills our police officers and bystanders and innocent children playing in the front yard."
The United States Attorney's Office held a show and tell joint press conference Wednesday afternoon at the Miami Gardens Police Department. It was held not only to announce the results of the coordinated multi-agency law enforcement operation, including the DEA, ATF and U.S. Marshals, but also to pledge to do even more to make the streets throughout Miami-Dade County safer.
"No one police agency can do this alone," said Fernandez-Rundle. "We have a number of these operations that are occurring as we speak, and this isn't the end of it."