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Multi-agency crackdown results in 120 arrests

By Staff | Aug 15, 2019

An operation to reduce violent gang crime in Lee County led by the U.S. Marshals and conducted by area law enforcement has resulted in 120 arrests.

The U.S. Marshals Service, as well as local law enforcement agencies, gathered for a news conference Thursday at the Federal Courthouse in Fort Myers to announce the results of Operation Triple Beam and to warn those who plan to commit crime in Lee County there is only one place for you: jail.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office, the Fort Myers and Cape Coral police departments, The U.S. and State’s Attorney’s Offices, and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives took part in the operation and were also at the news conference.

William Berger, U.S. Marshal for the Middle District of Florida, called the initiative a success, thanks to the partnership of local law enforcement.

He also warned would-be criminals that just because the operation is over, that doesn’t mean their work is done.

“The U.S. Marshal Service is not going away. Our success is based on a simple premise: One badge, one shield, one star, one team,” Berger said.

Fort Myers Police Chief Derrick Diggs said his force was able to identify specific areas and persons, and the coordination resulted in numerous arrests. as well as the seizure of guns, cash and drugs.

“This phase of Operation Triple Beam may be ending, but this is not a one-and-done initiative. The violence is going to stop and we will stop it. We will not rest, be complacent or not cease our intense pursuit of those who may bring crime and violence to the streets of Fort Myers,” said Diggs.

Cape Coral Police Chief David Newlan said the operation made a significant impact on their ongoing effort to keep the streets safe.

“When you combine resources, it’s amazing what can be done,” Newlan said, adding some of the arrests happened in Cape Coral, but didn’t know exactly how many. “There are those out there who will break the law. It’s our job to bring them to justice.”

Operation Triple Beam was a 90-day crackdown designed to take violent offenders, as well as their weapons and drugs, off the streets.

It is a part of a nationwide initiative targeted at gangs and other criminal organizations. Since 2010, Marshals have conducted Operation Triple Beam 80 times, four of them in Florida.

The local operation resulted in 120 arrests, the seizure of 45 firearms, 317 rounds of ammunition, two vehicles, $18,703 in cash, and nearly 12 kilos of narcotics.

Patrick O’Grady, master sergeant of public affairs with the CCPD, said the numbers speak for themselves.

“When you see these numbers, we’re getting guns off the street and saving kids lives from overdoses and harm’s way,” O’Grady said.