Bradenton, Florida -- A three year-long investigation between federal and local law enforcement agencies has ended in 6 arrests involving 9 Manatee County murders between 2007-2013.
ATF agents unsealed a 78 page indictment revealing 28 charges in a racketeering conspiracy involving murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, robbery and drug trafficking. Seven of the charges carry the death penalty.
As word gets out of the arrests, families who have wanted justice for their loved ones learn that the wait is over.
"It's over, it's over baby. They got him," Hazel Barnes tells her daughter-in-law, as she bends over crying in relief.
Today the man federal agents believe killed Hazel's son, 15-year-old Kevin Barnes is behind bars. Hazel says, "It was a long hard journey."
A three year-long investigation between federal and local law enforcement agencies has ended in 6 arrests involving 9 Manatee County murders between 2007-2013.
Also under arrest are the men who allegedly gunned down Celeste Evans' 18-year-old son Joseph as he sat in his bedroom with his baby daughter on his lap. Celeste says during the shooting her son laid over his daughter to protect her. Deputies say his murder was a case of mistaken identity.
Celeste says, "This is the end of it. I can move forward, go on with my life now. We can all move forward. We can move forward, not live in fear afraid of anybody is going to hurt us. He was an innocent child."
Fear, say investigators, is what kept many of these cases by a violent criminal organization unsolved for years.
Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube says "Bottom line is people were scared. Has been going on Manatee County for a number of years, people were scared to come forward."
Trevor Velinor, Acting Special Agent in Charge with ATF says, "We made a commitment by pursuing individuals who have caused havoc in our community."
Federal agents say these are just three of 9 gang related murders between 2007 and 2013 at the hands of 6 known gang members.
The men arrested are:
Nathaniel Harris, (23, Bradenton), Napoleon Harris, (29, Bradenton), Charlie L. Green (27. Bradenton), Jerry W. Green, Jr. (31, Bradenton), Corey Deonta Harris (23, St. Petersburg), and Deonte Jamal Martin, (28, Bradenton).
Velinor says all the victims and their communities now have a "voice."
Manatee County's Sheriff says the 78 page indictment revealing 28 charges and 6 arrests is just the beginning and the investigation continues. Three of the men were arrested this morning and 5 search warrants on 3 cars and 2 homes issued today may turn up more leads.
Deputies hope there's less fear in the community and more people will come forward.
Celeste says, "Don't wait for it to hit at home to speak out. Do it now."