The Athens-Clarke Police Unit has been recognized by the Georgia Gang Investigators Association

In 2021, officers involved in Operation Tourniquet are shown gathering outside Georgia Square Mall, where they orchestrated the arrests of numerous gang members.

The Athens-Clarke County Police Department gang unit received awards recently in Athens during a Georgia Gang Investigators Association convention at the Classic Center.

The department’s gang unit shared the Regional Investigator of the Year award with the gang units of the FBI and Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

The award was given for work carried out as part of Operation Tourniquet, a covert operation focused on the distribution of fentanyl and other drugs by gang members in the Athens area.

The operation culminated in the arrest of 13 suspects in 2021, as well as the seizure of 60 firearms, more than $1 million in cash and assorted drugs, including cocaine and heroin, with a street value of more than $800,000.

At the time, police said the investigation had targeted “high-level” gang members involved in drug trafficking.

US Attorney for the Middle District Peter D. Leary also attended a press conference in Athens to announce the arrests.

The Gang Investigators Association was formed in 1998 and now has more than 500 members from law enforcement agencies across the state.

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This article originally appeared in the Athens Banner-Herald: Athens-Clarke Police Unit Receives State Congress Honors