Sixteen people were charged with federal offenses related to the distribution of heroin, cocaine, crack and opioids in southern Connecticut, the Department of Justice announced Thursday.

“This was an investigation that ... targeted individuals that were high on the food chain in drug dealing and violence,” said Bridgeport Police Chief Armando Perez. “It came to a great conclusion. It makes the city of Bridgeport and the surrounding areas a lot safer.”

According to court documents, in the summer of 2017, members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Bridgeport Safe Streets Task Force and Bridgeport police launched an investigation into individuals who were distributing narcotics in and around Bridgeport.

The investigation included the use of court-authorized wiretaps, controlled purchases of narcotics, physical and video surveillance and the execution of multiple search and seizure warrants.

Eight firearms, including three assault rifles and a destructive device, and more than $360,000 were seized during the span of the investigation, the DOJ said.

On Nov. 14, a grand jury in New Haven returned three indictments charging 16 people in connection with this investigation. The majority of the defendants were arrested last week of federal criminal complaints. One defendant was arrested Thursday.

Louie McDowell, 45, of Seymour; Antonio “Tone” Small, 27, of Naguatuck; Evan “Smooth” Sheffield, 32, of Bridgeport; Christopher “Rico” Rodriguez, 30, of Hamden; Jesse “Steve” Papcun, 30, of Stratford; Allison McAuliffe, 28, of Fairfield; Shawn Jobbagy, 27, of Bridgeport; and Allison Colavito, 31, of Trumbull were each charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin and to possess with intent to distribute heroin.

That indictment specifically charged McDowell and Small with conspiracity to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin and to possess with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin. This offense carries a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum term of life in prison.

Sheffield and Rodriguez were specifically charged with conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin and possession with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin. This offense carries a minimum of five years in prison and a maximum of 40 years in prison.

Papcun, McAuliffe, Jobbagy and Colavito were specifically charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin and possession with intent to distribute heroin. This offense carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison.

The indictment also charged McDowell with possession with intent to distribute cocaine and heroin, Sheffield with possession with intent to distribute heroin and crack cocaine, and McAuliffe, Jobaggy and Colavito with use of telephone to facilitate a drug trafficking offense.

On Nov. 6, a search of McDowell’s home in Seymour led to the seizure of more than 100 grams of heroin, about one kilogram of cocaine, narcotics paraphernalia, five guns, ammunition and $129,203 in cash. A search of a safe deposit box maintained by McDowell led investigators to an additional $217,000 in cash.

Investigators also seized heroin and $2,960 in cash from Sheffield’s Bridgeport home, the DOJ said. At Small’s home in Naugatuck, they found $1,770 in cash and a Rolex watch. Narcotics, guns and other weapons were taken from Papcun’s Stratford home.

A slew of additional people allegedly involved in the drugs sales were charged on a second indictment.

Kevin “Ox” Jones, Jr., 26, of Bridgeport; Luis “Macho” Martinez, 53, of Stratford; Shawn Woodard, 27, of Bridgeport; Donald Lawlor, 38, of Norwalk; Phillip Chiaia, 31, of Norwalk; Julian Delephine, 41, of Wilton; and Kevin Jones, Sr., 54, of Farmington, were charged with conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with intent to distribute, various controlled substances, including cocain, heroin, crack cocaine and oxycodone.

A search of his person and home revealed Jones, Jr., to have narcotics, $2,823 in cash, jewelry and an ounce of gold, the DOJ said.

A search of Martinez’s Stratford home led police to $!1,132 in cash.

If convicted of the charges, Jones, Jr., faces a mandatory minimum term of five years in prison and a maximum of 40 years in prison. The six other defendants face a maximum term of 20 years in prison.

In the third and final indictment, Harvel “Tec” Carter, 25, of Bridgeport, was charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute, and distribution of, heroin, and one count of possession with intent to distribute heroin. Each offense carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison.

On Nov. 6, a search of Carter’s Bridgeport home led investigators to heroin, two loaded handguns and $1,406 in cash, the DOJ said.

And Perez said police aren’t stopping.

“We will continue to do these kinds of operations,” he said. “We will continue to make Bridgeport and the surrounding areas safe.”