South Florida

Miami Gardens' ‘Zone 3' Gang Targeted in Federal Investigation

"Even one firearm in the wrong hands can destroy countless lives," an ATF official said in a statement

Federal agencies targeted a Miami Gardens street gang in an operation involving about 200 officers, seizing dozens of firearms and drugs.

Members and associates of the Miami Gardens-based Zone 3 gang face charges including drug trafficking, armed drug trafficking, dealing in firearms and firearm possession by convicted felons.

“Thanks to the collaboration of federal and local law enforcement, the armed sale of drugs and firearms by these Zone 3 gang members and associates in the City of Miami Gardens has come to an end," Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, said in a statement.

In a statement, the U.S. Department of Justice said it launched Operation End Zone on Friday with about 200 federal and local officers in which 17 people were arrested. Five others also indicted on charges face arrest.

Officials seized more than 40 firearms, 220 rounds of assorted ammunition, cash and a variety of drugs – including cocaine, crack, heroin, fentanyl, Alprazolam, marijuana – in the operation.

"As we all know, even one firearm in the wrong hands can destroy countless lives," special agent in charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' Miami Field Division, Ari Shapira, said in a statement.

FBI Miami's assistant special agent in charge, Scott A. Rottman, said the complex problem of drug trafficking and violent crime requires collaboration between local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.

“Drug dealing and violent crime associated with gang activity have an insidious impact on our communities. They take a toll on our citizens through street violence, increased law-breaking, and addiction," Rottman said in a statement. "The vicious armed gangs pushing this poison into the streets tear apart the fabric of our communities."

Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert thanked the agencies involved in the operation, which included the Miami Gardens Police Department, the ATF and the FBI.

Most of the suspects face from five years to 20 years in federal prison. One suspect faces up to 40 years in prison.

“Today is a win for residents of Miami Gardens, South Florida, as well as the many law enforcement agencies that worked together to say collectively, we will not tolerate crimes of any nature,” Gilbert said in a statement.

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