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38th Street gang members arrested in federal indictment alleging murder, drug trafficking

Several dozen members of Los Angeles' 38th Street gang were arrested Tuesday under a federal racketeering indictment alleging that they are responsible for numerous murders and large-scale drug trafficking, as well as impersonating federal agents and using a child as a shooter.

The early morning raids involving 800 law enforcement officers targeted one of L.A.'s oldest gangs, known for its deep ties with the Mexican Mafia prison gang. Investigators documented numerous plots, including one in which a gang member claims to have directed a 14-year-old girl to shoot a rival gang member as part of her initiation, according to the affidavit.

In another incident, gang members dressed as FBI agents and other law enforcement officers shot their way into a South Gate house, where they tied up and kidnapped a man, prosecutors said Tuesday. During a subsequent high-speed chase, the victim was allegedly executed with a bullet to his head, according to prosecutors.

During the pre-dawn raids Tuesday, LAPD officers and special agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives arrested 37 defendants on federal indictments; 20 more people were taken into custody on state weapons and narcotics charges.

Federal prosecutors already had 14 defendants named in the federal cases in custody. Seven fugitives remained at large.

"We targeted 87 members and associates of a violent street gang, which terrorized one of our communities," said Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck.

Authorities seized about 7 kilograms of cocaine, a pound of methamphetamine, 23 firearms and about $250,000 in cash Tuesday when they searched multiple homes.

The 38th Street gang is the subject of a 130-page grand jury indictment alleging violations of the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations statute. Some 53 defendants are charged with violating the federal law by acting on behalf of the gang and participating in murders, murder plots, attempted murders, narcotics trafficking, robberies, extortion and witness intimidation.

Most of the defendants in the racketeering case face up to life in federal prison if convicted. It is the latest in a series of federal racketeering cases against Los Angeles gangs. The indictment alleges the 38th Street gang engaged in the distribution of methamphetamine, cocaine and crack cocaine.

Agents and officers made a series of seizures during the investigation, including one detailed in the indictment in which authorities confiscated more than 2 kilograms of methamphetamine, nearly 4 kilograms of cocaine and more than $61,000 from one stash house.

The gang allegedly imported narcotics from Mexico and provided "street-level" distribution amounts to numerous gang members and associates, who sold the drugs in gang territory.

"The 38th Street gang has had a devastating impact throughout the communities of South Los Angeles," said Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Timothy J. Landrum.

To support their narcotics trafficking and to control their claimed territory, gang members kept an arsenal of firearms, including handguns, shotguns, assault rifles and machine guns, according to John A. Torres, Special Agent in Charge, ATF Los Angeles Field Division. Torres said his agents seized more than 80 firearms in the course of this gang investigation.

In addition to the federal RICO indictment, a grand jury returned five, single-defendant indictments that allege weapons and narcotics offenses.


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-- Richard Winton

Comments () | Archives (13)

There you go boys, send 'em off to La Eme.

Gangs like 38th St. exist for two reasons: The exploitation of low-income communities which receive poor public services, education, and job offers. The other is this ridiculous thing called "prohibition" which ensures underprivileged , demonized youth will continuously step up to the plate to serve narcotics to the insatiable North American market.

"Let's see, do I want to be a bottom-rung employee fighting for respect as an American citizen and stuggling to feed my family? No, I think I'll take option number two and wind up with $61,000 in cash at home."

Tax, regulate, educate - problem solved.

great work to the FBI for making the streets safer, keep it up

My only concern is that it took 800 officers to take down 80 gangsters. Really?? Strikes me as inefficient use of resources. I would expect that 100 trained paramilitary police officers with machine guns and SWAT equipment could easily take down 80 gangsters asleep at the crack of dawn. I also wonder how many months and months of research and undercover work was required to prepare for the sweep.

Common sense is a moron. They weren't going after 90 yr old ladies. These are gang members who shoot at police. Maybe you forgot to read how many firearms were recovered. If one officer got killed during these warrants, the question would be why weren't there more. However liberals like you were probably rooting for that

shtnntn, i dont know why you assume common sense is a liberal because of his comments. im a liberal and i dont care if it took 1000 cops.

obviously, these idiot gang members are sitting there waiting to get arrested. also, they are in multiple locations and besides arresting the bastards they are going for, their might be other people at these homes that need to be apprehended or controlled.

Fantastic work by everyone involved. keep it up and keep on making LA a safer place!

Finally some RICO laws are being used.


you may be correct, let's lift prohibition. afterall we should be able to buy heroin, cocaine, methampetamine without restrictions from the government....who are they to say that those drugs should be illegal!

I live right around the corner of the house with the 61 thousand. I agree, this was a powerful bust, but not living here where it is happening will prevent many people from knowing what will happen next. I know, as a person from the hood that things are going to change for the worse. Many gangs reside around the gang of 38st. Pueblos, Florencia, 18st, and many others. With this bust, those gangs are going to try and take over the area. There will be violence and deaths, perhaps of innocent bystanders, or young adults wearing what other gangs consider "enemy colors". I am not saying, "allow gangs to roam free", but I am saying some actions lead to specific consequences. This bust should have been played differently. Maybe 10 thousand officers and a bust of ALL gang members from different gangs in LA could have been a better idea. To bad that is highly unrealistic.

What's sad is... i see more and more white collar drug dealers, just normal dudes with a job and family with a connection putting the word out they are selling. Times are tough, people are considering drug dealing... it's easy while it's under control, but you WILL ALWAYS run into a deep undercover agent, i seen some that look just like bums. What is dangerous, are the teenage gangmembers used as tools by the veterans, who know the system and hand off "dirty" guns used in prior shootings. Kids make pocket change, get a free gun, get to party and feel the belong. They use the youngsters to sell to highschool kids, less suspicious than a well known 30+ year old felon.

This Operation was the most unorganized thing I have ever seen. To top it off, LAPD Commanders pulled their own LAPD Officers off of the Operation at the last minute forcing the Investigators to use outside agencies for the dirty work. Typical LAPD nonsense. I was there, I'll admit, I was embarrassed by this circus.

Everyone is innocent until proven guilty...most of the men arrested are family oriented good men. DONT BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ PEOPLE!!!

I truly believe that Law Enforcement in Los Angeles that includes Federal Law Enfcmnt.Agencies aswell, but I just simply call em all swines; "Is A Joke".
The streets cannot get safer now especially w/ Law Enforcemrnt Using the way of intimidations, Force & Misconduct, and not to forget their all favorites bad habit ways of "The Threat" examples as follows; We will take your kids away,Ummmmmm. Unfortunantly it is this way, the street life in South Central , TEST UP1 & _oes and aswell to Law Enfrcmnt. Individuals, DOWN>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

i agree with margarita these some of the guys are family oriented and hard working men but the truth is there were others who werent and its sad to see the innocent go down with the guilty however The Lord has the Last judgement and if these guys surrender to God then miracles will happen and mountains will be moved The Lord is sending a message to all the Gang members whether active or not God is the light that overcomes darkness and its their choice to want to changes their lives around
Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness & truth) & find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible— everything that is illuminated becomes a light." Ephesians 5:8
‎2 Timothy 4:7-8 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me--the crown of righteousness that the Lord . . . will give me on that great day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his glorious return.” (NLT) Father God, help us to keep our faith to the end of the race. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.


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