6 arrested in Hillsborough gang bust

The U.S. attorney’s office in Tampa said Monday it has dismantled a violent Hillsborough County gang that had been carrying out crimes in Florida and other states. Six members, including its leader, have been arrested.

A 40-page indictment released by prosecutors says gang members are suspected of murder in Hillsborough County and that the gang placed GPS devices in the cars of people it was following.

Six members of the group face various charges, including conspiracy to commit robbery, kidnapping, bank fraud, murder in aid of extortion, arson and possession with intent to distribute over 2,000 pounds of marijuana.

Prosecutors said the defendants include gang leader Christian Andujar Rivera, as well as Irving Bruzon, Xavier Gardner, Mohamed Nidal Jaber, Julissa Collazo and Kyle Miller.

According to U.S. Attorney Roger Handberg, the gang is called Alexander Park, or AP, and its members committed “acts of intimidation” to instill fear in the Tampa community and retaliate against other gangs.

Handberg said the violence included a shooting between rival gangs on April 17, 2022, at Scores Gentlemen’s Club on Dale Mabry Highway.

Initial reports indicate that an argument broke out between the rival gangs Latin Kings and Alexander Park, which resulted in a Latin Kings member shooting an Alexander Park member, leading to retaliation by the rival gang, Handberg said.

Six days after the Scores shooting, members of the Alexander Park gang shot and killed a Latin Kings gang member in broad daylight in the parking lot of a shopping center on West Hillsborough Avenue.

Handberg said that after the shooting, Alexander Park members tried to destroy evidence by setting fire to a car in which they left a dead Latin King member.

While investigating both murder scenes, detectives found nearly 70 shell casings in the parking lots where the murders occurred. Detectives matched the shell casings at Scores to those in the West Hillsborough Avenue parking lot and found a match.

“That lead helped us move our investigation forward because it connected what happened on April 17 to the retaliation that happened on April 23,” Handberg said. “Investigators didn’t stop there. The goal of this investigation was always to dismantle the AP gang.”

According to Handberg, investigators determined that members of the Alexander Park gang committed crimes throughout Florida, as well as in Oregon, California and Michigan.

The indictment said four of the victims were stalked and one was kidnapped by gang members. Handberg said they bought GPS trackers and placed them in the vehicles of the victims and their family members.

Investigators discovered the gang also stole thousands of pounds of marijuana through violence, Handberg said.

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Each member of the gang faces life imprisonment, he added.

“This case is a great example of how local, state and federal investigators can effectively work together to protect our community by pursuing those who seek to do us harm through violence,” Handberg said.