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Nearly 100 charged, dozens arrested in operation targeting Armenian organized crime [Updated]

February 16, 2011 |  9:11 am

Dozens of people were arrested Wednesday morning in a massive operation by federal and local law enforcement authorities targeting Armenian organized crime, particularly members of the powerful street gang Armenian Power.

Operation Power Outage involved nearly 1,000 officers and concentrated primarily on suspects who reside in heavily Armenian neighborhoods in Glendale and East Hollywood, but authorities said arrests and indictments also were made in other parts of the country.

Citing the ongoing operation, officials did not immediately release specifics but said nearly 100 individuals had been charged in federal and state court in indictments alleging racketeering, extortion, kidnapping, drug-related offenses and white-collar fraud.

Participating law enforcement agencies included the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Secret Service, Immigration Customs Enforcement, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the Burbank, Glendale and Los Angeles police departments. [Updated at 10:14 a.m.: The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General also participated.]

The bulk of the arrests and search warrants had been served without any major incidents. But officials stressed they continued to search for some of the suspects.

Armenian Power -- AP for short -- is a small but virulent gang that took root among Armenian immigrants who arrived in Los Angeles in the late 1980s and early 1990s, authorities said. They are concentrated in Glendale and East Hollywood.

Law enforcement officials described Armenian Power as having an "extensive portfolio" that combined ruthlessness with opportunism, focusing on white-collar crime that included identity theft crimes such as credit-card skimming. 


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-- Andrew Blankstein

Photo: An Armenian Power member shows tatoos on his back in a 1997 photo. Credit: Anacleto Rapping / Los Angeles Times