8 more arrests in Omaha anti-gang sweep - Omaha.com
Published Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 12:00 am / Updated at 1:44 am
OPERATION WIPE IT DOWN
8 more arrests in Omaha anti-gang sweep

Federal authorities have charged an additional 12 people with crimes in a continuing anti-gang sweep in north Omaha.

As of late Friday, eight of the 12 were in custody, police said.

The latest charged in the investigation known as Operation Wipe It Down are accused of firearms trafficking, illegal possession of firearms and drug trafficking, among other charges.

The nearly 10-month investigation has targeted Omaha gang members and their associates.

In September, 18 men and women were arrested in what Police Chief Todd Schmaderer called the first phase of the operation.

The chief said Friday that some of the people arrested or sought are suspected in some of the city's recent shootings.

Authorities said the arrests have now taken a total of 62 guns off the streets and led to the seizure of about 1 pounds of marijuana and about 310 grams of crack cocaine.

The 12 people charged in the second phase have a combined 21 felony and 31 misdemeanor convictions and 69 previous arrests.

Authorities declined to say where the latest arrests occurred. More than 30 officers executed arrest warrants this week.

Schmaderer declined to name the specific gangs involved, but he said those named in the investigation have ties to gangs in north Omaha neighborhoods. More gang members could be identified as the operation continues.

“At any time the Omaha Police Department may have another operation under a different name, or we may continue the phase of Wipe It Down,” Schmaderer said. “We're always going to make it a priority.”

The investigation was jointly conducted by police, the U.S. Attorney's Office and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The suspected gang members face federal and local charges.

U.S. Attorney Deborah Gilg said the investigation would continue “until the plague of gangs, guns and violence is eradicated from our community.”

Many of those wanted or arrested face mandatory sentences of five to 40 years, authorities said.

Last spring, police and federal officials rounded up nine suspected leaders of the 40th Avenue Crips and the 29th Street Gang as part of Operation Purple Haze. All nine remain in custody and are awaiting trial on drug and gun charges.

“I want the citizens of Omaha to know that we are doing this for the community in an attempt to make the city safer from gangs and gun violence,” Schmaderer said. “The Omaha Police Department will continue to make gang and gun violence a focus as long as it is a present element in our city.”

The eight arrested this week:

Tracy Johnson, 23; Fabian Jones, 26; Cynethia Liggins, 24; Damon Phillip, 25; Darell Richards, 23; Jarez Wilson, 23; Troy Carlton, 39; and John Ezell, 31, all of Omaha.

Contact the writer: Maggie O'Brien

maggie.o'brien@owh.com    |   402-444-3100    |  

Maggie is a cops and breaking news reporter for Omaha.com.

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