GREENVILLE - The Greenville Police Department announced Thursday it made 33 arrests stemming from their violence reduction plan that started after a spike in gang and drug-related crimes in a West Greenville neighborhood.
Chief Hassan Aden began the crackdown after a man was robbed and shot on Westgate Drive. Then, a few days later on Jan. 2, police found 36-year-old Anthony Johnson fatally shot outside his home on Westridge Court.
Chief Aden immediately moved a mobile command unit into the West Pointe neighborhood. The department mapped out "hot spots" where violent crime had occurred in the past and where they believed violent crime would continue in the future.
Police said 15 of the suspects were arrested Wednesday, with the help of U.S. Marshals. Those individuals were charged with selling and dealing cocaine. Police said some of those suspects have direct ties to gangs in the area.
Authorities say the offenders arrested are drug dealers, gang members, gang associates and other criminals. At this time, they are facing a total of 118 charges. However, police said there may be more charges to come.
Officials also recovered five guns and illegal drugs.
Authorities are still looking for 9 more suspects including: Anthony Dudley, Carl Jenkins, Garey Smith, Johnny Crawford, Kelvin Rodgers, Maurice Barnes, Rondell Edwards, Travis Foreman, and Willie Jordan.
According to Sgt. Joe Friday, "the goals of this operation has been to stop the violence immediately, stabilize the targeted neighborhood, and restore a sense of calm and security in the community. To that end, the Department believe this plan has been successful."