Dumb names. Serious crime.
Miami-Dade Police's yearlong "Operation Willy Wonka" investigation into the "Get Money Soliders" street gang has ended in the arrest of 17 members as well as 14 other individuals.
The Get Money Soldiers were operating out of the Arthur Mays Villas Public Housing complex down in the Goulds neighborhood of South Miami-Dade. Starting off as kiddie cliques involved in small-time crime, the group eventually turned into a violent criminal organization that took over the area's drug trade and was also involved in guns, theft and murder.
The Miami Herald reports that part of the investigation began after police uncovered video footage of a man executed in front of a group of people by a gun placed point blank at the back of his head. Police believe he may have been shot because he stole someone else's hat. A coalition of local, state and federal law enforcement officers than spent almost a year investigating the gang. Warrants were made possible because undercover police bought drugs from members of the gang.
According to CBS Miami, Miami-Dade Police obtained four search warrants for locations that were believed to be headquarters for the gangs and barged in starting at 4 a.m. on Thursday. Seventeen arrest warrants were also issued for individual gang members. More than 100 officers were involved.
During the sweep police also found 29 grams of coke, 402 grams of marijuana, 9 grams of MDMA, a riffle, and five handguns.
Police took in 17 gang members, and 14 other associates. Most on drug charges. They all face at least three years in prison.
However, police still have not apprehended believed to be responsible for the videotaped murder. They think they know who he is though and that these arrests will lead to his location.
"Today ends Get Money Soldiers' reign of violence and terror in the community," said Lt. Hiram Rodriguez in a statement.
As for the name of the operation, The Herald explains its because local residents refer to the area as "Chocolate City."
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.