'Operation Ceasefire' marks 10 years in Brevard County
BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – It's the most successful crime-fighting program you may never have heard about.
Operation Ceasefire is a task force that teams local, federal and state agents to seek out criminals who use firearms in their crimes.
It's been 10 years since the group started and since it was formed, hundreds of arrests have followed.
State Attorney Phil Archer says the task force has prevented crimes from happening, but more importantly it has saved lives.
Undercover video taken by ATF agent Scott Perala shows Perala making a gun deal with convicted felon Jason Caryle in a Lowe's parking lot in Brevard County.
It's a dangerous situation, but soon after the exchange was made, Caryle was arrested. He is serving a 22-year prison sentence.
"We've been very successful. The task force has targeted armed offenders in Brevard County," said Archer.
Archer says Operation Ceasefire has put away 130 gun criminals, racked up 800-plus years in prison sentences and recued gun-related crime by 28 percent in Brevard County over the past 5 years.
"This brings together all the major players in Brevard County every week to share information about gang members and about violent crime," said Archer. "When they share that information, then they can work together to target those offenders."
Another video discovered by agents shows convicted felon Lawrence Alvarado in the passenger seat of a car and showing off his gun down the streets of Cocoa. As a felon, it's illegal for him to handle guns.
After agents discovered the video, Alvarado was arrested. He's now serving 18 years in prison -- one of the many put away because of Operation Ceasefire.
Archer said there are also ways for the community to help with gun-prevention efforts. He said for folks to keep weapons secure against theft and if you see illegal gun activity to call law enforcement immediately.
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