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'Louisville is not exempt from the gang problem.' | FBI discusses combating violence

After a Kentucky man was charged in connection with notorious Gangster Disciples, FOCUS sat down with Louisville FBI to see how they're combating gang violence.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Louisville FBI said there are violent gangs in Kentucky that “need to be dealt with” on Monday.

“Louisville is not exempt from the gang problem,” said Brian Jones, the Assistant Special Agent in Charge with the Louisville FBI.

The FBI considers a gang to be ‘three or more people, engaged in illegal activity,’ and together to ‘incite fear and intimidation in a community,’ according to Jones.

He said they’ve remained focused on tackling Louisville’s uptick in violence, and that includes taking down gangs.

In July, 14 people were arrested and federally charged, thanks to a multi-year, multi-agency effort. They were “arrested and charged with conspiring to distribute fentanyl, heroin, oxycodone and methamphetamine in one of the largest federal takedowns of its type in recent history in Louisville,” according to a release from the Department of Justice.

The charge carries a penalty of no less than 5 years, and no more than 40 years imprisonment, a maximum fine of $5 million, and no less than 4 years of supervised release.

“We try to go after them as an entire group, as an enterprise, and arrest a lot of them at one time,” said Jones.

A WHAS11 Focus Investigation on the Gangster Disciples detailed the dirty work behind organized crime, including sometimes using children to deal drugs.

“If we can prove that someone does use a minor in furtherance of that, it enhances their sentence. They can go to prison for a longer period of time, the adult can,” explained Jones.

“Some of these neighborhoods where these gangs are operating are held hostage, and so if we're able to clean up even a single neighborhood to make it safer for kids to be able to play outside their houses and on sidewalks, then that's a win,” he said.

FBI Louisville works with local law enforcement agencies like LMPD, and as of this year, the Nelson County Sheriff's Office and Bullitt County Sheriff's Office to combat violent crime with what’s called the Safe Streets Task Force.

► Contact reporter Heather Fountaine at hfountaine@whas11.com and follow her on Twitter (@WHAS11Heather) and Facebook.

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