Federal and state law enforcement agencies worked together to coordinate an operation that successfully netted 39 arrests. The 39 individuals arrested in Tampa, Florida have all been taken into custody under the suspicion of involvement with a white supremacist gang.
Authorities collaborated for over three years to conduct “Operation Blackjack.” After gaining enough intel, agents planned to raid an area where members of the United Aryan Brotherhood and Unforgiven gangs were expected to be meeting. Upon entering the facility, agents quickly found multiple high-powered weapons and drugs. Among the items found included meth, a rocket launcher, fentanyl, pipe bombs and numerous high-powered firearms.
The 39 suspects are facing several charges including possessing a firearm while in possession of drugs, possession with the intent to distribute, illegal possession of a firearm by a felon, possession and distribution of methamphetamine and possession and distribution of fentanyl.
Agents that participated in the investigation came from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Pasco Sheriff’s Office, the State Attorney’s Office for the Sixth Judicial Circuit and the United State’s Attorney’s Office.
Most of the suspect’s identities are currently being withheld. One of the individuals arrested has been identified as John Christopher Roberts, a 35-year-old resident of Orlando. Roberts was formerly indicted and pleaded guilty in September for his role in the distribution of methamphetamine for the gang. He was also charged with illegally possessing a firearm. His arrest back in July of 2017 has helped further investigations into the white supremacist gangs. Investigators were surprised to learn that much of the trafficking ring was being led by a man who is currently incarcerated.