JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Seven arrests and the seizure of more than 2 kilograms of drugs, $80,000 in cash and guns connected to multiple crimes, including a homicide: that was the result of “Operation Bright Lights,” Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters announced Tuesday.
The two-month investigation, which included DEA and ATF agents, ended with the dismantling of a criminal organization called K4T, which was responsible for repeated acts of violence in Jacksonville, including multiple homicides, and trafficking in narcotics to bankroll its operation, Waters said.
Waters said the gang has terrorized the community since it was formed in 2019.
During Operation Bright Lights, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office seized 1.17 kilograms of fentanyl, 570 grams of meth, 467 grams of cocaine and 203 pounds of marijuana, along with $80,000 in cash and two vehicles.
“We’ll never be able to quantify the lives that were saved by removing these dangerous criminals and this poison from our streets, but unquestionably, through the excellent investigative work of the men and women of the JSO and our law enforcement partners, our community’s safer and more secure because of this operation,” Waters said.
The man investigators identified as the kingpin of the gang, Brian Brightman, was arrested in January in a targeted traffic stop in Oceanway. His driver, Eric Thornton, was shot and killed by a Jacksonville officer while armed with a knife. Brightman’s 8-year-old son was in the van when JSO made the stop.
Six others were also arrested in the operation: Wallace Corbin, Raymond Cash, Gary Harris, Benjamin Wilson, Eric Massey Jr. and Unique Haynes.
Altogether, Waters said, the gang had about 40 members and was moving “major quantities of meth, cocaine, fentanyl and any other kind of drug you can think of in the Jacksonville community.”
Waters said the once thriving criminal enterprise is now “operationally defunct.”
“Jacksonville will not tolerate this violence, will not sit passively by as members of our community are poisoned and killed by those that seek to profit off the misery of others, those who are terrorizing members of our community through acts of violence,” Waters said.
According to Waters, one of the Glock pistols recovered during the operation was connected through ballistics to an August 2021 homicide case and another Glock pistol matched four different crime scenes.
A rifle recovered during the investigation was connected to two crime scenes last fall.