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More than 800 federal and local law enforcement officers fanned out across Los Angeles on Oct. 21 in a massive operation capping a three-year, multi-agency investigation targeting major methamphetamine and cocaine suppliers.
The individuals targeted in the raids allegedly supply some of the most violent street gangs in Los Angeles and the surrounding area.
Forty suspects were taken into custody and are facing federal charges. One individual was detained on a state parole violation, and an additional 21 suspects are still being sought.
The arrests came after a federal grand jury returned six indictments that name a total of 61 defendants, many of them documented gang members, who allegedly trafficked in large quantities of cocaine and methamphetamine that was resold. The charges in the indictments include conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine, as well as firearms violations.
“This collaborative law enforcement action began as an investigation into drug trafficking and expanded into a case that charges members of 10 different street gangs,” said United States Attorney André Birotte Jr. “A federal grand jury has charged key players involved in the distribution of crack cocaine, large-scale methamphetamine dealers, and gun traffickers.”
The investigation leading to Thursday’s enforcement action, which was called Operation “Red Rein”, was spearheaded by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); and the Los Angeles Police Department.
One federal indictment charges 40 defendants, many of whom are affiliated with the East Side Pain street gang, with participating in a conspiracy to distribute powder cocaine and crack cocaine. Investigators determined that gang members were responsible for funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars of crack cocaine a month onto the streets of Los Angeles.
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