By Tamas Mondovics

2017 began on a high note for members of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office. During a February press conference at the HCSO Special Investigation Division, 2224 N. Falkenburg Rd. in Tampa, Sheriff David Gee announced the completion of a three-month-long, multi-agency investigation resulting in the arrest of several suspects along with the seizure of weapons and illegal drugs.

Original Story printed Feb 2017

Members of the State Attorney’s Office of the 13th Judicial Circuit, the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida were all on hand last month to discuss the conclusion of a major criminal investigation that resulted in the seizure of dozens of firearms, illegal drugs and the arrest of multiple suspects in Hillsborough County.

Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee told reporters during the press conference at the HCSO Special Investigation Division, 2224 N. Falkenburg Rd. in Tampa, that the unified effort between the agencies involved resulted in the seizure of 66 firearms from 51 offenders.

Gee said that detectives posed as convicted felons and tried to buy guns from people during the 12-week period, which he said was easy to do as nearly 60 people told undercover detectives that they could get them guns.

When done, the operation seized 42 handguns, 15 riffles and nine shotguns, seven of which were reported stolen.

A total of 188 firearm and drug-related charges have reportedly been filed in connection with the case.

“I can’t say enough about the undercover operation that was done here,” Gee said emphasizing the outstanding work accomplished by the men and women who took part in the hand to hand transactions as the offenders were delivering loaded guns, which Gee said were “really easy to buy.”

“According to HCSO, aggravated assault in Hillsborough County has increased about 11 percent last year, a significant increase.

“The firearms recovered during the 12-week operation, a relatively short amount of time, is alarming.” Gee said.

For more information about the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, please visit www.hcso.tampa.fl.us.