Authorities bust group trafficking drugs, guns

LAKE CITY, Fla. – A 14-month investigation by a task force of local, state and federal law enforcement personnel in and around Columbia County has resulted in 17 arrests as of Thursday afternoon, and more are expected.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, working with the Columbia County Sheriff's Office, the Lake City police and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and investigators with the State Attorney's Office targeted what they considered a violent, armed narcotics trafficking group operating in the are.

After numerous controlled purchases of illegal firearms and narcotics were conducted, the task force obtained arrest and search warrants for several individuals and locations.  In raids on Thursday, authorities say they seized narcotics, cash, firearms. 

As of 3:20 p.m., they reported arresting 17 people on various felony charges:

"This lengthy and complex operation is a fine example of the cooperation shared between the local law enforcement agencies and our state and federal partners," Columbia County Sheriff Mark Hunter said.