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Feds help local law enforcement to increase surprise visits on violent criminals on probation

Violent-crime task force arrests 12 Liberty City residents, authorities say

MIAMI – It wasn't the seven-year crime spree that put Al Capone behind bars. It was the feds who went after him on tax evasion charges. One way or another, law enforcement was going to get him.

It's just the same with violent criminals on probation in Miami-Dade, said special agent Hugo Barrera with The U.S. Department of Justice Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Barrera said Thursday was a good day. There were 12 arrests in Liberty City and Allapattah in an operation that involved ATFE agents, parole officers and Miami and Miami-Dade police officers.

"We are making an impact," Barrera said.

U.S. Attorney Wilfredo A. Ferrer said Thursday's operation in Liberty City is one of many to come, as the Department of Justice is leaning toward strengthening relationships between federal, state and local law enforcement. 

Ferrer said the violent-crime task force has been focusing on "hot spot communities," meaning areas with a high crime rate like Liberty City, Allapattah, Little Haiti and Overtown.

Those on probation in South Florida can expect frequent visits from police looking for guns and drugs. Florida Department of Corrections & Parole circuit administrator Sunny Ukenye said they were helping the other agencies to identify the repeat offenders on probation.

Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa said the violent-crimes task force is getting to the root of the problem -- the drug trade and the gangs.

On Thursday during the sweep, they also seized a revolver, a semi-automatic pistol and an AK-47 assault rifle. Orosa said they will be taken to a lab to try to see if they are connected to other crimes.

Authorities only identified nine of the 12 Liberty City residents arrested. Seven of the arrests were related to heroin, cocaine and marijuana.

Jason Henry, 32, and Keyvina Minnis, 31, were charged with possession of personal information for criminal use and scheme to defraud. Authorities said they had machines to create credit cards, over 100 personal identifying information, and several fraudulent credit cards.

Marquis Vates, 22, Cornelius Bryant, 24, Jeff Edmond, Justin Witherington, 24, Troys Everett, 21, and Eddie Deshazlor, 18, were arrested for violation of probation. Natalie Romano, 25, was arrested for possession of cocaine.