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Published On: Sun, Dec 9th, 2018

Eighteen ‘Bird Gang’ Members Indicted for Drug Trafficking and Firearms Violations

United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces the culmination of a long-term investigation of a violent and drug trafficking organization known as the “Bird Gang,” operating primarily in Tampa. As a result, 18 individuals have been charged with various federal firearms and drug offenses. (Please see chart for details). The indictments also notify the defendants that the United States intends to forfeit firearms, cash, and a vehicle, as well as any other property derived from or used in these offenses.

“The charges brought today are another example of our resolve to reduce violent crime in our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez. “Today’s actions reflect the continuous hard work of our Project Safe Neighborhoods Tampa Bay Task Force partners.”

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“The arrests today send a clear message that violent gangs will not be tolerated in our communities. The FBI, with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners will continue to work together to rid our communities of drugs and violence,” said Eric W. Sporre Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Tampa Field Office.

“Our city is safer today as a result of these arrests and it will continue to be safer in the future as a result of the partnership between our law enforcement agencies,’’ said Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan. “This year-long operation sends a clear message that we and our partners will not rest until violent gangs are brought to justice.”

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

This investigation arose out of a partnership between the United States Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Tampa Police Department, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The cases will be prosecuted by the Assistant United States Attorneys Natalie Hirt Adams and Taylor G. Stout.

These cases were brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. In the Middle District of Florida, U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez coordinates PSN efforts in cooperation with various federal, state, and local law enforcement officials.

This investigation is also the result of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) program. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s drug supply.

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