by on April 1, 2022
Authorities in Palm Beach County have now arrested nearly 30 known gang members since October.
In October it was Operation "No Face No Case," 9 members from the Sama gang arrested. They operated in West Palm Beach, Riviera Beach and Lake Park.
Sheriff Ric Bradshaw calling them a cancer.
"Gangs are a cancer in a community and we're going to cut these cancers out.”
Tuesday it was Operation "Goodfellas." Eighteen people from the West Palm Beach based 4th Street Gang in custody. A conviction on their gang related charges could put them away for a long time.
“The maximum penalty, if you combine all their years, is 3,695 years,” State Attorney Dave Aronberg said Tuesday.
Authorities say these arrests dealt a major blow to 4th Street’s operation. But police records named three other violent rivals to 4th Street.
“How much of a dent in the gang operation locally will these arrests honestly make?” CBS 12 News reporter Andrew Lofholm asked former FBI agent Stuart Kaplan.
“Short term, I think there’s going to be somewhat of a relief. People will feel safer in these neighborhoods. I think long term part of the problem is the effect on the younger generation coming up behind these individuals that were arrested, we have to get to those younger kids,” Kaplan said.
He says gang investigations are complex, that take time to investigate thoroughly.
Goodfellas took a year and half to investigate, which is normal Kaplan says. As brazen as the drug deals and gun brandishing were, investigators worked in the shadows.
They had set up wire taps to listen into gang phone calls, and undercover officers would watch from undisclosed locations.
“Generally, it’s very hard as an outsider to get into a gang and extrapolate that information it would take to define the organization and hierarchy,” Kaplan said.
4th Street recruited people known as a straw person, someone without criminal records so they could easily legally buy guns to only hand the guns over to the ranking gang members with a rap sheet.
Kaplan says in South Florida especially, gangs will prey on undocumented immigrants.
“They know that those type of people may not go to law enforcement and make the necessary complaint that they’ve been a victim of a crime,” he said.
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