At least 45 members of a South LA gang were arrested and indicted on Tuesday by federal officials for years of committing lawless and violent acts allegedly including murder, selling drugs, and using violence and intimidation to control an area near downtown’s notorious Skid Row.
The sting operation was the culmination of a three-year investigation that targeted the Five Deuce Broadway Gangster Crips, which consists of about 200 members, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. Officials said they named the investigation Operation Gremlin Riderz after a violent subset of the Broadway Crips gang who had “terrorized the Broadway corridor” since at least the 1970s, according to Los Angeles Police Captain David Kalowski.
The gang had a strong presence in downtown LA. Part of a 213-page racketeering federal indictment states “This area is desirable to the gang because it is close to Skid Row, where there is a large and vulnerable customer base of drug addicts and mentally ill persons.”
The arrests were made by a joint task force consisting of the FBI, LAPD, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, United States Attorney’s Office and the City Attorney.
City Attorney Mike Feuer said that three civil lawsuits have been filed by the city, in addition to the federal action, writes the Daily News. The civil suits target three properties that are believed to be linked to the crimes; two of the properties are located in very close proximity to elementary schools.
In April, a member of the “East Side Crips” gang was arrested after an initial police search on his vehicle revealed a loaded Glock handgun whose serial number matched that of a firearm which had been reported stolen from an FBI agent in January, when his home was burglarized.