HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) –Sixty-six firearms were seized in Hillsborough County during a major undercover weapons investigation that included the arrests of dozens of people.
Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee said on Friday detectives posed as convicted felons and tried to buy guns from people during a 12-week period.
Fifty-seven people told detectives that they could get them a gun. “It was really easy to buy them,” said Sheriff Gee.
Sixty-six firearms were seized from 51 offenders. Sheriff Gee said seven of the firearms had been reported stolen.
“I can’t say enough about the undercover work that was done here, with the men and women who were doing these hand to hand transactions, because they were bringing loaded guns, and it was really easy to buy ’em,” said Gee.
Of the 66 firearms, 42 were handguns, 15 were rifles and nine were shotguns.
“If you want to predict violent crime… one of the things you can always look at is the number of firearms that are readily available on the street that people can just walk up and buy,” said Gee.
Many of the firearms were loaded. The detectives also purchased illegal narcotics during the firearms transactions.
“The majority of these cases started off as drugs, and it turned into guns, when these people either offered us guns, or the undercover personnel asked them for guns and posed as a convicted felon,” said Major Frank Losat with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office.
So far, 188 firearm and drug-related charges have been filed in connection with the case.
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