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Dozens of gang members arrested in South L.A. sweep

October 22, 2009 | 10:18 am

More than 1,100 Los Angeles police officers and FBI agents began a crackdown on the Rollin' 40s gang before dawn today, hauling in nearly four dozen gang members and associates from their homes in pajamas, in an attempt to make a dent in one of the most violent street gangs in South Los Angeles.

“What we are trying to do is to break the grip of terror and narcotics trafficking and violence that they have had in that part of Los Angeles for many years,” said Cmdr. Andrew Smith of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Smith said the Rollin' 40s are one of the 10 most violent gangs in Los Angeles, and authorities had been investigating them for 18 months.

“Residents and police were saying enough is enough,” Smith said. “We are going to do something about these guys.”

Beginning at 5 a.m., law enforcement officials served 75 arrest warrants to "shot callers" on state and federal charges of narcotics sales, illegal weapons and various other crimes. As of 9:15 a.m., 46 were arrested. The raid targeted mostly the upper echelons of the gang.

Smith said investigators are searching secondary locations for the remaining fugitives and have issued nationwide alerts to inform other police departments they are wanted.

The FBI-LAPD operation has been able to charge gang members and associates with tougher federal statutes, which will “get them off the streets for longer period of time,” said FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller.

Many of those arrested have been indicted on federal charges that could carry sentences ranging from 20 years to life, she said.

The sweep was bordered by Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard on the north, 52nd Street on the south, the 110 Freeway on the east and Crenshaw Boulevard on the west.

-- My-Thuan Tran and Richard Winton