August 23, 2011
Contact: Public Information Officer
Phone Number: (954) 660-4500
Twenty-One Charged Federally In “Operation Woodchop”
ORLANDO, FL. - Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement (DEA), Miami Field Division and United States Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announce today the culmination of “Operation Woodchop,” an investigation into two neighborhood-based street gangs in the Orange and Lake County areas. The operation concluded this morning with a total of 21 individuals charged federally with drug (). In addition, 28 individuals were charged with state crimes ranging from drug violations to murder and property crimes.
In March 2010, agents with the DEA Orlando District Office Enforcement Group and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office Gang Unit initiated an investigation into multiple individuals operating in Zellwood and Tangerine, Florida. These individuals were known to be associated with one another and involved in criminal activities, operating in two neighborhood-based street gangs, the “Zellwood Boyz” and the “Tangerine/Terrell Boys. These two gangs operate only a few miles apart from one another and often work together or through criminal affiliates to engage in drug trafficking and other crimes within a small geographical area.
DEA was the lead agency conducting this operation with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the Mount Dora Police Department, the Tavares Police Department and the Central Florida Intelligence Exchange. Early this morning approximately 200 federal, state and local law enforcement officers initiated enforcement activities to dismantle and disrupt these two drug trafficking organizations and affiliates operating in Northern Orange and Lake County, Florida.
A criminal complaint is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.