Authorities in southwest Florida put new state anti-gang legislation to work when deputies with a special unit arrested 14 individuals they described as gang members, including seven suspects who had gang-suggestive photos and comments on a social networking Web site.
The Lee County Sheriff's Office said Saturday that one of those suspects said he did little more than post provocative pictures, while the father of another said deputies were mistaken when they targeted his son.
The Sheriff's Office reported that hundreds of hours of
investigation and planning culminated in Thursday night's effort,
named "Operation Firewall."
It follows the signing of state legislation in June that expands the penalty for conviction as a gang "kingpin" to a first-degree felony and prohibits the use of Web sites to "further the criminal interests of a gang," a third-degree felony.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)