More than a dozen members of a Miami-based crime ring that has been involved in murders, drug dealing, armed robberies and other violent crimes dating back to 2000 have been arrested, authorities said Wednesday.
A total of fourteen people are facing charges including racketeering, drug distribution, commercial robbery, and use of firearm in furtherance of violent crime, the US Attorney for the Southern District announced at a news conference.
Three firearms, cash, ammunition and drugs were also seized, authorities said.
Authorities say the suspects based their operation out of the South Gwen Cherry Housing Complex in Miami's Allapattah neighborhood dating back to around 2000.
The suspects used social media to recruit members and involved juveniles in their crimes, authorities said.
"Senior members of the organization frequently asked juveniles to commit crimes and violent crimes, provided them with firearms, asked them to do things based on a belief that these juveniles could receive a lesser penalty or no penalty at all," said Benjamin Greenberg, acting US Attorney for the Southern District. "And make no mistake, senior members of this organization recruited juveniles precisely because they were juveniles."
The arrests were made by a task force that began in May 2015 and included the Miami US Attorney's Office, FBI, ATF, DEA, Miami Police, and Miami-Dade Police. The task force focused on violent crime in the north end of Miami-Dade.
Wednesday's news conference was held a day after a raid in North Miami believed to be linked to the crime ring.