Police: Gang members, drug dealers, arrested in Brevard sweep



BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - The Brevard County Sheriff's Office partnered with several law enforcement agencies to send criminals a bold message during Operation Clean Sweep.

During the sweep, officers said they also uncovered at least four drug manufacturing locations, including three meth labs and a marijuana grow operation.

Operation Clean Sweep was set in motion two months ago, authorities said. Late Thursday night, the last of the 236 suspects were led into the Titusville Police .

"It is not a ripple effect, it's a direct correlation to the amount of pressure," said Titusville Police Chief John Lau.

Among those arrested were violent criminals, drug dealers and gang members, police said.

"There is no room for people who want to commit violent crime and torment our citizens," said Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey.

During the sweep, officers found 28 guns, including a submachine gun in a drawer below a bottle of baby formula.

"When we execute a search warrant, especially on a drug dealer, we plan for weapons," said Major Jim Woolsey. "We base a lot of our training and our tactics on that we are going to have an armed encounter."

During the investigation, officers also uncovered a loose network of gang affiliations with one gang stretching from Titusville to Palm Bay using teens to steal cars that would later be used for robberies or home invasions, police said.

"There was no letting up for the criminals and truly this operation," said Lau. "This is a sad day for criminals in North Brevard."

Part of what made the take down of gang members possible was the gang itself, authorities said. Officers usually have to prove that a gang is in fact a gang, but police said the group helped them along because they actually called themselves a gang.