A law enforcement operation targeting violent offenders in Mississippi has led to the arrest of 270 people.
During April and May, U.S. Marshals and more than 25 federal, state and local enforcement agencies spent six weeks targeting violent offenders in the Southern District of Mississippi. Tuesday they announced the sting called "Operation Triple Beam," led to the arrest of 270 people. U.S. Attorney for the district, Mike Hurst, says the individuals face charges ranging from murder, sexual assault, robbery and illegal drug distribution to being unregistered sex offenders.
"This is the first time ever in the history of our country that the United States Marshals have executed this type of operation throughout an entire judicial district. I think for the short amount of time it was in place it was successful," said Hurst.
Hurst says 90 of those arrested are affiliated with gangs such as the Gangster Disciples, Latin Kings and Aryan Brotherhood. Don Synder is with the U.S. Marshals Service in Virginia. He was involved in the operation and says gangs are out to make money.
"Gangs are notorious for firearms, drugs, illegal money, dirty money," said Snyder. "What does that mean,?" said Frazier. "It just means money obtained through criminal activity so selling narcotics, prostitution," said Snyder.
Snyder says they seized 50 illegal firearms including military style assault rifles, drugs worth $7,500 and $26,000 in cash. U.S. Attorney Hurst says the operation focused on Hattiesburg, Meridian, Biloxi, Gulfport and Jackson. He says the arrests included fugitives from Florida, Texas and New Jersey. Hurst added right now they're working on a plan that specifically targets gang activity.