WEST END, OH (FOX19) - A four month investigation by local and federal authorities has led to the arrest of some of the most dangerous criminals in Hamilton County, according to the Cincinnati Police Department.
Authorities focused on a specific gang ring operating in the West End neighborhood and Thursday morning took 15-18 people into custody.
Cincinnati Police say the investigation began with the arrest of murder suspect Julius White back in October. He's accused of killing Dwayne Lamarr Lewis Jr., who's body was found in the middle of the street near the intersection of Blaine Road and Knox Street in South Fairmount.
After his arrest, authorities discovered White controlled the drug market in the West End. Now White and several of his associates are behind bars.
"I saw all these police and people with black on. They were busy trying to get in the door but I guess that boom helped them to get that door because all of them people went in that door," says West End resident Shirley Colbert.
Colbert says she woke up to the sound of police breaking off a neighbor's door. Cincinnati Police had made their move early Thursday morning making several drug and violent crime arrests in the neighborhood of West End.
Assistant Cincinnati Police Chief Lt. Colonel James L. Whalen says in all 18 men all connected to White were involved in drug trafficking, illegal firearms possession and violent acts. Thursday, they took 11 illegal weapons off the streets.
"We are going to do what we need to do to end violent crime in the city," said Mayor John Cranley at a press conference acknowledging the department's efforts.
It is a bust mayor Cranley says will bring relief to the community. Resident Shirley Colbert agrees.
"Anything that they can do to put us back in touch with ourselves to make sure our children have a future like everybody did for us is a plus for us. I don't care what we have to do to do that," says Colbert.
Cincinnati police says could not have completed this investigation without the help of ATF, FBI, and the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department.