Multi-Agency Law Enforcement Operation Tackles Gun Violence and Drug Trafficking in Broward County
Wifredo A. Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Michael J. Satz, Broward State Attorney, Hugo J. Barrera, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives (ATF), Amos Rojas, Jr., U.S. Marshal, U.S. Marshal’s Service (USMS), and Scott Israel, Sheriff, Broward County Sheriff’s Office (BSO), announce the results of a concerted multi-agency effort to combat the crime and violence associated with illegal firearm and drug trafficking activity in Broward County. To that end, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Broward State Attorney’s Office, and federal and state law enforcement cooperated in a number of joint investigations and prosecutions targeting illegal firearms and drug trafficking. This joint effort resulted in 16 individuals being charged with federal and state firearm and narcotics offenses.
Of those charged, federal charges have been brought against three individuals. The federal criminal complaints filed on July 1, 2014 and unsealed today, charge: Freddy Lee Gardner, 49, of Plantation, with armed career criminal in possession of a firearm, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 922(g) and 924(e); Kasheem Antonio Saddoo, 23, of Lauderhill, with possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(k); and Antonio James, 19, of Lauderhill, with possession of a short barreled rifle, in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Sections 5841, 5861(d), 5861(e) and 5871.
Additionally, law enforcement seized: 10 firearms, including one short barreled rifle; 45 grams of cocaine powder; 16 grams of crack cocaine; 95 grams of Molly powder; 74 capsules of Molly; and 149 grams of marijuana.
The defendants are scheduled to make their respective initial appearances on Friday, July 18, 2014, at 11:00 a.m., before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lurana S. Snow.
This investigation is, in large part, the result of the Violence Reduction Partnership, launched by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Through the Partnership, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and its federal and local law enforcement allies have sought to dismantle the most violent criminal networks in local neighborhoods, while simultaneously working with community leaders and concerned citizens to mentor at-risk youths, provide jobs and job training to young families, and help probationers and parolees successfully re-enter society.
United States Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer stated, “Today, we announce the results of the most recent partnership between federal and state law enforcement to combat violent crime in our communities. The goal of the Violence Reduction Partnership is to help neighborhoods plagued with violent crime shake off the cycle of violence and make those neighborhoods safer for all residents. Enforcement of federal criminal statutes is an integral component of our holistic approach to community building. But we cannot arrest our way out of violent crime. For that reason, our Partnership also focuses on community-partnering, crime prevention, and reentry assistance for offenders attempting to put their pasts behind them and build healthy, productive lives in our community. The results of this investigation clearly illustrate that we remain committed to this comprehensive approach.”
“These arrests are a good example of state and federal law-enforcement agencies working together proactively to make our communities safer,” said Broward State Attorney Mike Satz. “We are going to continue this state-federal partnership and aggressively work together to reduce illegal firearms and drug trafficking.”
ATF Special Agent in Charge Hugo J. Barrera added, “This case illustrates law enforcement’s commitment to remain united in its war on violent crime. Those who choose to live outside the rule of law will be brought to justice.”
U.S. Marshal Amos Rojas, Jr. stated, “Today, as a result of the Violence Reduction Partnership, and these significant indictments, our community is a much safer place to live. The U.S. Marshals Service will continue to partner with other law enforcement agencies and the United States Attorney’s Office to reduce and eliminate gun violence and crime in our cities.”
“The key to the success of this operation is in the proactive nature of the enforcement. With the help of our federal partners, our V.I.P.E.R. unit was able to identify, locate and arrest these violent criminals,” Sheriff Scott Israel said. “We will never know how many crimes were prevented by taking these illegal weapons off the streets, but that’s a statistic I can live without.”
Mr. Ferrer thanked the many law enforcement agencies involved in this South Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force (HIDTA) operation. In particular, Mr. Ferrer thanked the Broward State Attorney’s Office and commended the investigative efforts of ATF, USMS, and BSO. The federal cases resulting from this operation are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Chase.
The South Florida HIDTA was established in 1990. This program, made up of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, fosters intra-agency cooperation among law enforcement agencies in South Florida and involves them in developing a strategy to target the region’s drug-related threats to public safety. The South Florida HIDTA uses the funding provided by the Office of National Drug Control Policy that sponsors a variety of law enforcement initiatives that target the region’s illicit drug threats.
A criminal complaint is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.