Cops Bang on “Scarface” Haitian Gangs

"Operation Dead End" puts the clamps on a band of "Scarface" followers

Friday's gang sweep in North Miami Beach could have easily been dubbed "Operation Tony Montana."

But instead, police took a more conventional and appropriate name of "Operation Dead End," which fits because for the dozens arrested, Friday was the end of the line.

Eight primarily Haitian gangs have been dismantled in South Florida after a 17-month investigation, authorities said Friday. "Operation Dead End" targeted violent drug traffickers in North Miami Beach. Police said the gang bangers patterned themselves after Al Pacino's portrayal of a Miami coke kingpin in "Scarface."

"This is the kind of mentality these gang members have. This is their idol," said Hernandez while holding up a poster of Scarface.

Information from the probe into the January 2008 slaying of Miami police Detective James Walker in North Miami Beach aided the undercover local and federal law enforcement officers in their investigation, Police Chief Rafael Hernandez Jr. said. Walker was shot by gang members with a semiautomatic rifle, authorities said. That investigation continues.

"We've received a lot of complaints about gang problems in our city," Hernandez said.

Thirteen gang members and their associates face federal armed robbery, drugs and weapons charges. If convicted, they potentially face decades in prison. Another 23 will be prosecuted by the Miami State Attorney's Office. Seventeen others arrested in this week's sweep will be processed for immigration violations or charges in other crimes, authorities said.

The defendants range from street-level dealers to large drug suppliers, Hernandez said.

Investigators also seized six handguns, ammunition that could pierce an officer's protective vest and various amounts of powder and crack cocaine, marijuana and ecstasy.

Hernandez declined to identify the gangs targeted by the investigation. Police Maj. Kathy Katerman said they were "primarily Haitian."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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