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70 suspects arrested in St. Lucie County crime crackdown targeting gangs, sheriff's office says

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Posted at 5:37 AM, Dec 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-12 17:51:41-05

ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. — The St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office announced the arrests of 70 suspects on Thursday in a major crime crackdown involving multiple law enforcement agencies that targeted dangerous and violent gangs.

At a news conference, Sheriff Ken Mascara said the investigation started after the killing of 21-year-old John’nethia Robinson last year.

Authorities said Robinson was gunned down in front of her home in the 3000 Tropic Blvd. on Dec. 2, 2018.

"We believe that John’nethia was an unattended target of a drive-by shooting in her neighborhood, and that it was a result of a rival between gang members of the 23rd Street and 29th Street gangs," Sheriff Mascara said.

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70 suspects arrested in St. Lucie County crime crackdown targeting gangs, sheriff's office says

In the days following Robinson's death, the sheriff said there was a spike in gun-related incidents in St. Lucie County and Fort Pierce.

To combat the gang violence, a multi-agency task force was assembled including the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office, Fort Pierce Police Department, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

"This task force was able to develop probable cause to arrest multiple individuals from both of these gangs, and to curb the violence that was affecting our community," Sheriff Mascara said.

The sheriff said 54 people were arrested and charged locally, while another 16 were charged with federal crimes. Mascara added gun violence has gone down since this task force investigation started.

Despite the arrests, Sheriff Mascara said Robinson's killer has not been caught, and the task force is still operating.

"Her killer is still free, and we and her family want justice," said the sheriff. "Somewhere out there, somebody knows something. Somebody knows who pulled the trigger."

If you know who killed Robinson, call the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office at 772-462-3230, or Treasure Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-800-273-8477.