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Police units team up to fight crime

LAWRENCEVILLE - After recognizing an increase in violent crimes this year, Gwinnett police in May decided to combine the efforts of several department units to get to the bottom of it.

Investigations were launched into recent homicides, shootings and home invasions, many of which police said are linked to drug organizations.

As a result of the initiative - the Robbery and Kidnapping Enforcement Initiative - several suspects police believe were planning robberies or shootings have been identified and "intercepted." Sixteen individuals have been arrested in the two-month span and charged with crimes including conspiracy to commit armed robbery, drug trafficking, unlawful possession of a firearm and kidnapping.

"We know there are many more individuals involved, but we hope that the apprehension of these individuals will help make communities around the county safer," said Assistant Chief Dan Bruno, Criminal Investigations Division commander.

Participating units - assisted by the Gwinnett County District Attorney's Office - include Homicide, Robbery, General Crimes, Vice and Intelligence, Crime Suppression, Gang, the Narcotics Task Force, SWAT, the Highway Interdiction Team and the Uniform Division.

Arrested were Ada Cordero, 31, of Suwanee; Moises Zapta, 29, David Garcia-Hernandez, 29, Cleymi Manon-Santana, 28, Jose Reyes, 31, Wilfredo Melendez, 31, Areli Goicochea Torres, 21, all of Lawrenceville; Gabriel Payamps, 27, Lucy Cueto-Betancourt, 32, Wascar Capellan-Guzman, 32, Fermin Aguirre-Garcia, 27, all of Duluth; Silvia Espinoza-Manon and Alejandro Gomez, 47, of Buford; Albert Espinal, 31, of Jonesboro; Eduardo Sirin-Esquina, 33, of Norcross; and Erick Victor Livent, 22, of Charlotte, N.C.

"We will continue to utilize the resources of this department to keep Gwinnett County citizens and communities safe today and in the future," Gwinnett police Chief Charles Walters said.