By GRETCHEN EHLKE
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Twenty-four people associated with a violent drug-trafficking gang operating in a northeast Milwaukee neighborhood are faced with federal charges, authorities said Wednesday.
Hundreds of federal, state and local officers executed search warrants Tuesday and rounded up 17 of the defendants. The rest remained at large Wednesday, U.S. Attorney Matthew Krueger said.
Officers recovered 53 firearms, including military assault-style weapons, 900 grams of heroin, and more than 150 grams of a drug mixture that contained fentanyl. They also found cocaine, marijuana and $300,000 in cash.
“Drug trafficking organizations cause much of the firearms violence in Milwaukee,” Krueger said at a news conference.
“These groups battle for territory, intimidate witnesses, they attempt to rob each other and they do so using lethal weapons,” Krueger said.
Officials said the gang was known as the Buffum Meinecke Boys, which are the names of two streets in the Harambee neighborhood.
Fifteen of the defendants are charged with conspiring to distribute heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana. One of the defendants is charged with unlawful possession of 37 firearms.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert Hughes said the Buffum Meinecke Boys have a unique profile.
“They’ve established alliances with other violent gangs for one single purpose and that’s to enhance profits from the sale of heroin on the streets of Milwaukee.”
The defendants were charged based on a joint investigation by officers from the FBI’s Southeastern Wisconsin Gang Task Force, the Milwaukee Police Department, the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office, IRS’ criminal investigative unit and the Drug Enforcement Administration.