BSO busts violent street gang that spread fear throughout South Florida with shootings and drug sales

South Florida Sun Sentinel

Feb 17, 2022 4:09 PM

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Broward County Sheriff’s Office arrests nearly 200 in Alwoods gang investigation whose members sold cocaine, heroin and fentanyl.

The Broward Sheriff’s Office has shut down a street gang whose members sold cocaine, heroin and fentanyl throughout South Florida, protecting their enterprise through violence that ranged from drive-by shootings to a murder plot.

Working with other law enforcement, including the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, the detectives spent the last five years investigating what was known as the Alwoods gang, arresting nearly 200 people in the process.

The investigation resulted in two dozen indictments on racketeering charges handed up in Broward County, said Sheriff Gregory Tony, who announced at a news conference Thursday that 15 of those indicted were arrested this week. The remaining were already in custody on related crimes. In addition, officials said, 70 gang members were arrested for various crimes throughout the course of the investigation, along with another 100 who were not members but were arrested for related crimes.

“Originally we began investigating this gang in 2017 due to an uptick in violence and fentanyl sales on the street,” said Broward Sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Handras, who heads the agency’s gang unit. “We had an uptick of overdoses and our community was crying out to us, so we began an investigation into this identified street-level gang that was terrorizing the neighborhood.”

Officials said they had seized 40 kilos of cocaine and an additional 20 kilos of heroin and fentanyl.

The Alwoods gang has been operating in South Florida, primarily northern Broward and southern Palm Beach County, for more than 20 years, according to the sheriff’s office.

“Violent drug gangs are a scourge on the community. Their illegal activities bring nothing but pain and suffering to neighborhoods and hard-working, law-abiding citizens,” Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony said. “BSO detectives and deputies, along with our outstanding law enforcement partners, worked long hours in dangerous situations to take down the members of this gang and make sure they remain where they belong — in jail.”

Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony announces the results of a five-year investigation into a violent criminal street gang operating in the northern end of Broward County and southern portion of Palm Beach County at a news conference on Thursday.

Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony announces the results of a five-year investigation into a violent criminal street gang operating in the northern end of Broward County and southern portion of Palm Beach County at a news conference on Thursday. (Carline Jean/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

According to the sheriff’s office, detectives also seized $800,000 in cash, 70 guns, or $1 million in jewelry.

Other agencies involved in the operation included the Boca Raton Police Department, the Office of Statewide Prosecution and the Florida Attorney General’s Office.

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