Milwaukee authorities target drug-trafficking ring,15 arrested

NOW: Milwaukee authorities target drug-trafficking ring,15 arrested

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Federal law enforcement took aim at a drug-trafficking ring in Milwaukee Tuesday.

Officers served search warrants at multiple locations in Milwaukee, mostly focused on the north side. The U.S. Attorney says Tuesday's raids were aimed at 43-year-old Jimmy Bates and 14 others who were selling drugs in the Milwaukee area.

"In total, the investigation resulted in the seizure of multiple kilograms of heroin and cocaine, and at least 24 firearms," U.S. Attorney Matthew Krueger said.

He says Bates has been operating in the area as far back as 2012.

Now that he's off the streets, he hopes the violence that went along with his organization will be gone too.

"The conspiracy was connected to multiple shootings and homicides in the Milwaukee area," Krueger said.

The operation was part of a program called Project Safe Neighborhoods, a cooperation by federal, state and local agencies to target the causes of violence.

"There is no other way," Krueger said. "The problems we face, the level of violence, the amount of drug addiction and trafficking are too serious for any one partner to handle alone."

He points out the number of non-fatal shootings have dropped 40-percent since 2015. But they still have work to do so they can try to prevent things like the fatal road rage killing of a 3-year-old girl last weekend.

"What happened this last weekend to Brooklyn Harris was horrific, and none of us should be comfortable when that sort of violence happens in our city," he said.

14 of the men arrested Tuesday were in Milwaukee, and one was in Mississippi.

They face a long list of charges related to drugs, gun possession, and robbing other drug dealers.

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