19 arrested on drug and weapons charges in Venice gang sting
At least 19 people -- many of them alleged Westside gang members -- were arrested early Wednesday on suspicion of firearms and narcotics offenses observed at a Venice storefront run by undercover agents.
Agents with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives carried out "Operation Villainz Ink" with the Los Angeles Police Department, targeting members of the Venice 13, or Venice Trece, gang.
“ATF will aggressively pursue these violent gangs that occupy our communities and will continue to work with our partners to ensure that they know we are coming for them,” said John A. Torres, special agent in charge of the ATF field office in Los Angeles.
The ATF storefront, named Villainz Ink, drew reputed criminal street gang members who sold illegal drugs, committed numerous firearms offenses and sold a weapon to an ATF undercover agent during the four-month investigation, the agency said.
Those named in federal criminal complaints were: George R. Lopez, 41, of Lawndale; Salvador Garcia, 29, of Los Angeles; Cesar Perez Rios, 39, of Los Angeles; Mario Vincent Lopez, 43, of Lawndale; Joey Edward Leyba, 37, of West Los Angeles; and Maribel Gordio, 35, of South Los Angeles.
-- Andrew Blankstein