At least 18 arrests as ‘Wheels Up, Guns Down’ riders swarm South Florida roads

MIAMI (WSVN) - Authorities have taken more than a half dozen people into custody as off-road vehicle riders wreaked havoc on South Florida roadways as part of the annual “Wheels Up, Guns Down” Martin Luther King Day protest.

Aerial cameras, cellphone cameras and 7News crews have captured the bikers in different parts of Miami-Dade and Broward counties since late Friday afternoon in Hialeah, Opa-locka and Northwest Miami-Dade.

Participants of the holiday weekend demonstrations made their presence known by speeding on dirt bikes, four-wheelers and all-terrain vehicles, eluding police officers and Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies, as well as cutting off drivers and performing dangerous stunts.

Friday evening, Miami-Dade Police took 21-year-old Jonathan Spignolio and 28-year-old Raymond Gonzalez into custody for allegedly using off-road vehicles illegally. The duo was apprehended in the area of Northwest 119th Street and 24th Avenue in Northwest Miami-Dade.

Officers soon discovered the men were armed. One of them was charged with possession of a stolen weapon, and the other faces one count of carrying a concealed weapon without a permit.

Both of the subjects’ vehicles were impounded.

BSO deputies took five riders into custody on Saturday. They were identified as 24-year-old Toriano Crafton, 32-year-old Avery Kelly, 26-year-old Joseph Keys Jr., 24-year-old Tevin Matthews, and 31-year-old Shawn Stracker.

The arrests come as bikers were spotted all across South Florida. One group was seen zipping through downtown Miami while popping wheelies, at around 6 p.m. on Friday. Others were seen racing through Brickell, and yet another group was spotted weaving through traffic in Opa-locka.

7News cameras also captured bikers in Miami Gardens riding on their back tires.

7Skyforce HD showed riders along Interstate 95 in Miami-Dade. Some even stood on their vehicles while still in motion.

The brazen daredevils took to the road days after authorities in Miami-Dade and Broward issued a stern warning that they would enforce a zero tolerance policy to such activities.

The annual event, which police have said is not in any way sanctioned in any official way, has taken place across South Florida in previous years over the Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend to protest gun violence.

As of Monday afternoon, Miami-Dade Police officials said they have towed away a total of 19 ATVs and dirt bikes, three firearms were confiscated and eight people were arrested. BSO deputies seized 21 ATVs and dirt bikes, confiscated one firearm and arrested 10 people.

Authorities advised drivers to observe caution at stoplights and intersections throughout the weekend.

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