By Dawn Krebs
ST. LUCIE COUNTY -- Two crime-related sweeps recently completed by law enforcement all over the county resulted in hundreds of arrests and dozens of guns seized.
In Port St. Lucie, detectives held an investigation focusing on illegal drug activity. By the time the three-month investigation had ended, the police department had arrested 32 people with offenses including sale and delivery of oxycodone and possession of cocaine and marijuana.
"But one of the highlights of the sweep was that we were able to seize 28 guns and take them out of the hands of the criminals," said Sgt. Frank Sabol, public information officer for the Port St. Lucie Police Department.
"Hopefully, this will have an impact on the violent crimes in the community."
Another criminal sweep that had an impact took place in Fort Pierce, where deputies from the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office and officers from the Fort Pierce Police Department teamed up to tackle gun violence.
"The St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office has a tradition of working hand-in-hand with the Fort Pierce Police Department," St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara said.
Over a period of five weeks, the operation concentrated on nighttime street-level crime. As a result, 199 people were arrested, 18 firearms were confiscated and pounds of illegal drugs were seized.
"The task force operations are targeting gang members that threaten our community with gun violence," Fort Pierce Police Chief Sean Baldwin said.
"Sheriff Mascara and I have a message for gang members: Either stop the violence or spend the rest of your life in prison."