June 22, 2009 Operation Check-up Nets 20 Adult Defendants, Seizes 20 Guns, For Violating the Terms of their Probation

An Operation Cease-Fire task force targeting offenders who are violating the terms of their probation arrested 20 adults and confiscated 20 guns, including a possible machine gun, during a three-part sweep which began June 11 and ended last night (June 18).

Additionally, law enforcement officers from local, state, and federal agencies seized illegal narcotics, a sword, ammunition, and found nine juveniles also in violation of their release conditions.

Taking 20 weapons out of the hands of people already convicted of crimes is a tremendous boost to the safety of our residents. The apparent disregard some probationers have for their sentences lets the judiciary and the prosecutors know that our community will only be safe when they are in a much more restrictive setting, said State Attorney Norm Wolfinger

The action stemmed from the weekly meeting of Operation Cease-Fire, a consortium of area law enforcement officers and federal agents working with the State Attorney's Office to prevent gun violence, said Assistant State Attorney Phil Archer.

We were talking about the top violent offenders in Brevard, some of whom are on probation, when Agent Craig Carson from the Brevard Sheriffs Office suggested we do a home check on them to make sure they were following the orders of their probation, said Archer. Operation Check-up spearheaded by Brevard Sheriffs Agent Carson targeted those offenders who law enforcement suspected of illegal activity while on probation, he said.

Thursday night, a compliance check in the Melbourne-Palm Bay area under the supervision of Palm Bay Police Department Officer Steve Bland checked 20 defendants residences, resulting in five arrests. A later sweep in North Brevard resulted in three arrests and the discovery of the possible machine gun, nine rifles, and three hand guns at one probationers home. The south county sweep included officers from Melbourne and Palm Bay Police Departments, the sheriffs office, and probation and parole.

On June 11, Operation Check-up teams including officers from the Brevard County Sheriffs Office, Cocoa and Rockledge police departments, and probation and parole officers conducted checks at probationers homes in Central Brevard and the beaches. Twelve people were arrested on charges ranging from possession of illegal firearms or possession of ammunition to possession of illegal drugs. The officers seized seven guns and ammunition and about three pounds of marijuana. One of the arrests is under consideration for federal prosecution.

On June 16, the teams targeted juvenile offenders with curfew and home detention checks. Four juveniles were taken into custody on court orders and nine were picked up on curfew violations.

Operation Cease-Fire is a consortium of local law enforcement, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the State Attorneys Office, and the U. S. Attorneys Office which operates under Project Safe Neighborhoods to reduce violent gun crime in our communities.

Anyone with information about a potential probation violation--especially cases where a firearm may be involved--should call Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS.

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