Daytona Beach, FL - The latest joint initiative between local and federal law enforcement sees over 60 people charged and over 20 arrested as part of a new operation.
It's known as "Operation Pay Dirt" and it is the latest team effort by the Daytona Beach Police Department (DBPD) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATP). Officials from both agencies spoke to reporters on Friday afternoon (January 22nd) to announce the results of the operation and the 24 arrests that have been made thus far—some were arrested on local and state warrants while others were arrested on federal warrants.
The operation itself began in the summer of 2020, but began to ramp up following a sudden increase of violent crime in Daytona Beach in November—including multiple shootings that led to four homicides. According to Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young, investigators soon discovered that there were connections between some of the defendants and known armed narcotics traffickers.
"Many of the people we're putting handcuffs on have extensive criminal histories," said Chief Young. "They aren't tied to a specific organization but they were an ongoing threat to our community. We had to get them behind bars before anyone else got hurt."
Both agencies decided on a proactive approach that involved sending undercover officers into areas where they could purchase illegal drugs or guns. The types of drugs seized during the operation include crack cocaine, fentanyl, heroin, MDMA, methamphetamine, and oxycontin. Over 35 guns were recovered by law enforcement as well.
"Our long-standing partnership with DBPD has been instrumental in addressing this spike in violent crime," said ATF Special Agent In Charge Craig Saier. "DBPD's efforts in confronting firearms related crime have been commendable."
The investigation is ongoing and efforts to capture the remaining suspects continue.