AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree is sending a strong message to those involved in gun and gang violence.
“If you are carrying or use illegal firearms in Richmond County you should go to prison. If you are a chronic predator or offender, you should stay in prison. If you are a so-called gang banger or wannabe gangster, we’re going to put you in prison,” Sheriff Roundtree said.
It comes as a three-month long operation led to numerous arrests and the seizure of dozens of guns and drugs in Richmond County.
“The FBI Safe Streets Task Force and Richmond County Sheriff’s Office focused this three-month initiative to target the most violent offenders, the dangerous drug and gang organizations,” FBI Atlanta Assistant Special Agent Jermaine Deans said.
During Operation Grace, investigators made 119 arrests and recovered 176 firearms and hundreds of grams of narcotics as well as 33 pounds of marijuana.
In light of recent violence, Sheriff Roundtree said getting illegal firearms off the streets could help prevent future gun violence.
“This is a very significant impact on these guns right here in Richmond County, and the destructive nature they could have done if they remained in the hands of individuals,” Sheriff Roundtree said.
Investigators said 55 alleged gang members were also arrested including members of the Loyalty Over Everything gang which has been connected to the shooting death of 8-year-old Arbrie Anthony.
“To the drug dealers and gang leaders, like the chief said, there are consequences to your actions. Our goal is not to put people in cuffs for just a few days, but to cut enterprises off at the source,” Deans said.