SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - People living in the Cuyler-Brownsville neighborhood have been ground-zero for a violent rivalry between two gangs battling it out for drug customers and territory.
That battle may now be over following a major bust involving federal indictments and dozens of arrests. This is the kind of operation that takes more than just great police work. After 10 months of investigating, police gathered enough surveillance, undercover evidence, and perhaps most importantly, tips from the public, to round up 30 indictments for federal drug and gun activity.
From last January until now, the Cuyler-Brownsville neighborhood has played host to gang-related violence, resulting in an alarming increase in assaults, robberies, murders, and gunshots heard by the people who live there. It's in part because of those people, those families who call Cuyler-Brownsville home, that the investigation was so successful.
"We received intelligence from so many people in that neighborhood, from grandmothers and from parents who were afraid to go out on their own front porch, and parents who were afraid to let their kids play in their own front yards," said Greg Gilluly, Assistant United States Attorney.
In addition to taking a variety of drugs off the streets, police found dozens of guns in the process.
Flanked by heads of local, state, and federal agencies involved in the extensive operation and investigation, U.S. Attorney Bobby Christine gave details of what all the hard work yielded, including 24 arrests.
"One of the stolen firearms that we recovered was connected to four separate shootings within the Cuyler-Brownsville neighborhood. Another stolen firearm that we recovered was connected to 11 prior shootings in and around Savannah," Christine said.
Law enforcement targeted both sides of the dispute, making undercover drug and gun purchases and gathering surveillance as they built their case. Wrapping up his statement, the top federal prosecutor for our district made a pledge - to go after every tiny trace of information collected in this operation.
"We will pursue it, we will define it, we will break it down and we will get granular with every detail. We will not rest until there are no more neighborhoods in Savannah that are reporting 600 shots a year. That ends today," Christine said.
Six men are still at-large and are facing a variety of federal charges.
See below for the entire, uncut version of Wednesday's news conference announcing the arrests and investigation: