Almost 40 white supremacist gang members were arrested during a Florida drug sting.
The 39 arrests were the result of Operation Blackjack, a three-year investigation into the Unforgiven and United Aryan Brotherhood gangs, according to WFTS. The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the Aryan Brotherhood as “the nation’s oldest major white supremacist prison gang and a national crime syndicate.” The Unforgiven is a similar, newer white supremacist group based primarily in Florida's penal system.
The sting was carried out by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which partnered with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office and the State Attorney’s Office.
Over 110 illegal weapons were recovered from the gangs' Tampa Bay facilities Thursday. These weapons included firearms, a rocket launcher and two functional pipe bombs. The bombs belonged to 31-year-old Richard Mormon. Investigators are unsure of Mormon’s plans for the explosives.
Illegal drugs, mostly meth and fentanyl, were also seized.
“In getting these 39 dangerous individuals off of the street and seizing guns and explosives that could have been used in violent acts, the community of Pasco County is a little safer,” ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge Craig Kailimai said during a press conference.
The defendants face anywhere from two years to life imprisonment. Charges include possession of a firearm by a felon, drug possession and drug distribution, reports Newsweek. Some of the gangsters have already been sentenced to lengthy prison terms while others await trial.
“I want to send a message to these defendants that you can’t keep coming in and out of prison and come back and affect the community with violence and drug trafficking," U.S State Attorney for Middle District of Florida Maria Chapa Lopez declared.
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