Strong words from the Palm Beach County sheriff after the arrests of nine suspected gang members.
"Gangs are a cancer in a community. And we're going to cut these cancers out."
Ric Bradshaw says the suspects picked up on Thursday in "Operation No Face No Case" include a juvenile accused of murder. He had a firearm in his possession when deputies took him into custody in St. Lucie County.
The investigation focused on the Haitian-American Sama Gang which is believed to be involved in at least 50 shootings in the Palm Beaches since 2011.
Major Talal Masri says a lot more than just the nine suspects was taken off the streets.
"We recovered obviously lots of firearms...3 rifles, two handguns about $20,000 in cash and a bunch of drugs...and a shotgun."
He says more arrests are coming.
"As of now, we still continue the investigation. Just because we made the arrests doesn't mean we stop here."
The sheriff seconds that...
"I'm gonna use every resource that I have at my disposal to go after these gangs as hard as I possibly can. So if you're a gang member, keep looking over your shoulder because we're the ones coming after you."
All nine of the suspects face two first degree charges connected to the federal RICO act related to racketeering and organized crime. Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg says those charges are racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering.
"Both are first degree felonies. Both are punishable by up to 30 years in prison and as such we're talking about a potential of 60 years in prison for these individuals."
Aronberg says he's hopeful these first arrests make a dent in violent crime in the community.
Both the State Attorney's Office and the Sheriff's Office worked closely together on the investigation.
Bradshaw called Aronberg a "strong state attorney with strong prosecutors."
"That's why we like working with them because we know that our efforts are not gonna be in vain like you see around the United States some places, especially out there in California where they're just letting these people go right and left. We know that when we make a case it's going to be a strong prosecution."
The investigation took place over a one year period.