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Huge sweeps target Latino gangs that allegedly attacked blacks

May 21, 2009 |  8:38 am


Federal authorities said they would announce today a huge sweep of Latino gang members allegedly responsible for violence against law enforcement and racially motivated attacks against blacks.

The announcement followed the arrests of dozens of suspected gang members during raids early this morning. A news release from the U.S. attorney's office called it the "largest gang takedown in United States history."

U.S. Atty. Thomas P. O'Brien, along with officials from the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, is scheduled to speak at a news conference at 11 a.m. at the Lakewood sheriff's station. 

The indictment is the latest of several investigations that found gangs participating in race-based violence. Federal prosecutors two years ago charged members of a Latino gang with a violent campaign to drive blacks out of the unincorporated Florence-Firestone neighborhood that allegedly resulted in 20 homicides over several years.

In the Harbor Gateway district of L.A., police launched a crackdown last year on another Latino gang accused of targeting blacks, including 14-year-old Cheryl Green, whose death became a rallying point. In 2006, members of the Avenues, a Latino gang, were convicted in federal court for a series of assaults and killings in the early 1990s targeting blacks in Highland Park. 

-- Scott Glover

Photo: Weapons confiscated during this morning's raid. Credit: Richard Winton / Los Angeles Times