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Gang sweep nets 20 suspects

July 9, 2009 |  7:35 pm

In a sweeping series of raids Thursday morning, law enforcement agents arrested 20 people they allege are members of one of Los Angeles’ most violent gangs.

The operation, which targeted the Toonerville gang, involved officers from the Los Angeles Police Department, L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, Glendale Police Department and other agencies. Four of those arrested are murder suspects, four others were wanted in attempted murder cases and a dozen more were arrested on suspicion of drug or weapons violations, police said.
 
The arrests culminated a seven-month investigation that was launched after a 2008 murder in Glendale. Surveillance and wire taps used during that investigation tied members of the gang to other shootings and other crimes, said LAPD Cmdr. Patrick Gannon.

Since the 1950s, the Toonerville gang’s mostly Latino members have claimed a largely middle-class area of northeast Los Angeles that includes business warehouses and homes north of Los Feliz Boulevard, between San Fernando Road and the Los Angeles River.

Last year, Los Angeles and Glendale won an injunction against the 450-member gang.
Along with Thursday’s arrests, 20 other alleged members of the gang had been arrested in recent days. On Thursday, police seized 58 weapons, nearly all of them found in one location, police said.

LAPD Chief William J. Bratton touted the crackdown as a significant step forward in the department’s effort to hit at the core of the city’s most violent gangs. Last year, LAPD gang officers launched a similar raid in the Glassell Park neighborhood, rooting out leaders of the Drew Street clique, a part of the Avenues gang.

-- Joel Rubin

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