Dozens of gang members have been arrested in Central Florida, after swat teams moved in on Wednesday and executed five search warrants, the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation announced at a press conference yesterday.
Charges have been filed and arrest warrants have been issued against 33 defendants who are members of the criminal street gang, The Blood Gang. While the majority are in custody, 12 remain at large and are wanted by MBI and the Orange County Gang Unit.
Dubbed Operation Strong Arm, MBI Director Larry Zwieg said, the defendants’ charges range from racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering, to directing activities of a criminal gang. Some of the activities in which gang members engaged include, the selling of drugs, murders, armed robbery fraud, identity theft and the distribution of prescription pills.
At the center of the investigation was Jabarus Nathan, the leader of the organization and a local rap artist who records under a label named, “Fly Boy Moses Law Entertainment” (FBMLE). Nathan has an extensive criminal history which includes 31 felony arrests and 24 misdemeanor arrests, including drug dealing and firearms violations. Other high ranking members who were charged include, Justin Dickson, Santana Sutton Sr., Lincoln Granston, Colin Wilson, Santana Sutton Jr., and Travis Jackson.
Zwieg said that 16 firearms were seized in the operation and more arrests and seizures are anticipated as the investigation continues to progress.
Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said, the gang members were a part of one of the most violent and sophisticated gangs, who had negatively impacted the quality of life of Central Florida residents.
Operation Strong Arm spanned five counties – Orange, Polk, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia County – and a total of five search warrants were executed Wednesday.
The multi-agency investigation dates back to 2005, and included not only MBI and Orange County Sheriff’s Office Gang Unit, but as well, Orlando Police Department, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Seminole County Sheriff’s Office and Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.