More than 100 people arrested in 'Operation G.R.A.C.E.'
RICHMOND COUNTY, Ga. (WFXG) - The Richmond County Sheriff Office, District Attorney's Office, and FBI held a press conference Wednesday to announce the results of Operation G.R.A.C.E. - a months-long operation that resulted in more than one hundred felony arrests.
According to the FBI, Operation G.R.A.C.E. focused on disrupting and dismantling drug and gang organizations in the Augusta area. It began with the shooting death of 8-year-old Arbrie Anthony back in January.
"Out of this tragedy, the FBI safe street task force and the Richmond County Sheriff's Office focused this three month initiative to target the most violent offenders." said Jermaine Deans, FBI Atlanta Assistant Special Agent in Charge.
"Arbrie, over at Third Avenue, was innocent of all innocent victims. But, nine times out of ten, that's not the case." said Sheriff Richard Roundtree.
Together, several agencies convened for one mission.
"Operation G.R.A.C.E. is what happens when all of our federal, state, and local partners work together and the numbers speak volumes," said Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree. "What is even more impressive are the hundreds of contact made with law-abiding citizens in the affected areas. We want the citizens to know that you do have a voice and we hear you loud and clear. If you are carrying or using an illegal firearm in Richmond County, you should go to prison. If you are chronic predatory offender, you should stay in prison."
Operation G.R.A.C.E. resulted in:
- 119 Felony Arrests (55 suspected gang members
- 13 Residential Search Warrants Executed
- 740 Citations Issued
- 74 D.U.I. Arrests
- 537 Warnings Issued
- 176 Firearms
- 603 Grams of Cocaine
- 45.1 Grams Heroin
- 1 ½ Pound of Methamphetamine
- ½ Pound of Fentanyl (THIS INCLUDES FENTYNAL PILLS)
- 33 Pounds of Marijuana
- 483 Illegally possessed prescription pills
- 47.2 Grams of MDMA (Methylenedioxymethamphetamine)
- $214,763.00 in United States Currency
According to Sheriff Roundtree, many of those targeted are repeat offenders in gangs.
"To name a few that were associated with...The Gangster Disciples, Sex Money Murder Gang which we've done an operation on, Loyalty over Everything which we've done an operation on, The Boat Drive Alley Boys and Rolling Sixes which we've done an operation on..." said Sheriff Roundtree.
"Taking these offenders off the streets of Richmond County makes our community a safer place for everyone," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Keri Farley. "The FBI's Safe Streets Task Force and our law enforcement partners will continue to work non-stop to disrupt these violent gangs' operations and get illegal weapons and drugs out of their hands."
FOX54 also asked the Sheriff what he plans to do after a weekend of shootings on Richmond County school campuses.
"You know, a lot of the crime that we've seen lately is unfortunately with young people getting injured. Is there anything the FBI or the Sheriff's Office is considering doing new to prevent children from getting affiliated with gangs or anymore continued violence?" asked FOX54's Abby Bradshaw.
"We have those programs. But, these individuals are not going to take advantage of them. Again, we talk about the recent violence that we had among juveniles, these people are under 20 years old. These are not emancipated individuals. They're not living alone, they're not supporting themselves they are going home to some residence three, four o' clock in the morning or whatever the case may be. So, this community and these parents have to take a very different approach, a proactive and inclusive approach and monitor what their children are doing." said Sheriff Roundtree.
District Attorney Jared Williams is also calling on the community to speak up.
"It's time to stop promoting violence by permitting people to do these acts and not sharing information with people that can actually get in and help." said Williams.
Officials say they need you to stand behind them.
"The public, what they can do to support their law enforcement agencies, support the efforts, that these guys are putting on the line each and every day, instead of going to a social media platform, and just voicing opinions that have no merit." said Sheriff Roundtree.
"There is still a lot of work to do. We are not done. To the victims of violence and their families, we grieve alongside you. If you're a gang member, you need to be afraid because it won't be long before we are calling your number." said Deans.
Next, ATF will process the guns which means the possibility of more charges and arrests.
Arbrie Anthony's father, Arthur, also commented on the developments.
"To hear that Arbrie kicked it off, I hate it that she had to be in the forefront, but to see the efforts that they are putting together to crack down on this gang violence, makes me feel good. That's mainly the part they're doing these things is because they're thinking they're going to get away with it but if we have people in these communities that speak up maybe it will stop." said Arthur Anthony.
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