FBI assists in gang activity crackdown in Central Florida

With an increase in gang activity in Central Florida, the FBI is stepping in to assist.

"My primary concern is the level of violence, that’s why we’re involved," said Special Agent Ron Hopper during a news conference on Friday.

Agent Hopper said the FBI is now joining the manhunt for gang members after a rash of gun violence and gang retaliation in Central Florida.

"These two gangs, the 438 Gang, and the Army Gang have got our attention now."

This, after innocent children like 3-year-old Daquane Felix Jr. and 14-year-old Denis Joshua Atkinson, were gunned down last month.

Deputies said another teen named, Daquarvious Fudge, was also killed in a gang-related shooting. Thanks to tips from the public, Sheriff John Mina said they made two arrests in Fudge’s murder. Another suspect, 18-year-old suspect Lorenzo Hall, turned himself in to authorities on Friday.

"Tips that we received in the murder of 14-year-old Daquarvious Fudge who was shot on Cypress Street, August 5th led detectives to three suspects in this case." 

Sheriff Mina said they have arrested dozens of gang members, many of whom are accused of breaking into cars and homes looking for guns.

"Just for this targeted gang operation, we’ve made over 75 arrests and have taken more than 50 guns out of the hands of gang members."

They estimate both gangs in these cases, have around 50 members each.

Special Agent Hopper said, "I’m concerned about the brazen acts of violence they will do during daylight."

Hopper said they will be able to work outside jurisdictional boundaries during Operation Safe Streets, unlike the Orlando Police Department and the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

Agent Hopper said they joined forces after a shooting outside Millenia Mall. In that case, 19-year-old Joshua Holder was arrested in connection with the shooting.

"We intend to disrupt and dismantle both criminal organizations. Members of these two gangs can look forward towards serving lengthy, meaningful federal prison sentences in their future."

OPD said they have youth outreach programs to try and prevent kids from becoming involved in gangs.

A $20,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of the gang members. Call Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS 8477) or the FBI at 813-253-1000.