Launching “Operation Red Dawn,” investigators in eastern Hillsborough County and at least three other Bay area counties, have arrested 11 members of the Nortenos, or the Norte 14
“Homicide, firearms, drug-dealing, aggravated battery – they are the worst of the worst and they are now off of our streets,” said Attorney General Pam Bondi.
The gang originated in California and is identified by the color red and the number 14.
The arrests came from a 10-month investigation, uncovering the gang’s connections to crimes in Pasco, Polk, and Manatee counties as well.
“They’re relatively young. They go out, and the recruit our innocent kids. They recruit them in to gang members. Especially kids from broken homes, because they tell them they are going to give them a sense of family. Joining a gang is not about family, it’s about becoming a violent, violent criminal,” Bondi said.
“This was a fantastic operation and we did a great job, but it’s never going to stop,” said HCSO Col. Donna Lusczynski.
If convicted, the men face a minimum of 30 years in Florida state prison.