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47 South L.A. gang members arrested in interagency sweep

A coordinated effort by the FBI and LAPD finds 47 of 74 people sought in association with the Rollin' 40s gang. Charges include conspiracy, drug distribution and weapons possession.

October 23, 2009|Richard Winton

More than 1,100 Los Angeles police officers and FBI agents arrested nearly four dozen Rollin' 40s gang members and associates early Thursday morning in a coordinated roundup that was hailed by community activists as a much-needed strike against violent gangs in Southwest Los Angeles.

The massive sweep culminated an 18-month investigation involving wiretaps, informants and surveillance. The group, according to the LAPD, is among the city's 10 most violent gangs.

"This was a consistent problem gang for generations," said Police Chief William J. Bratton. "Some of these characters aren't going to see the outside world again."

In an operation dubbed "40 ounces to Freedom," agents and officers served arrest warrants for 74 people and captured 47 of them on charges of conspiracy, drug distribution and weapons possession.

Many of those arrested have been indicted on federal charges that could carry sentences of 20 years to life.

Similar gang sweeps in the past have sparked outrage among some community groups. But on Thursday, some local activists roundly endorsed the move.

"The residents of South L.A. will be better off tomorrow than yesterday," said Blair Taylor, president of the Los Angeles Urban League. Taylor, who stood beside Bratton at a news conference, praised the chief for making an effort to reach out to the community.

City Atty. Carmen Trutanich said his gang prosecutors took measures Thursday that will exclude or remove gang members from about two dozen properties in a three-square-mile area.

The 750-member gang's territory stretches from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard south to 52nd Street and from Crenshaw Boulevard east to the 110 Freeway.

"Residents and police were saying 'enough is enough,' " said LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith.

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richard.winton@latimes.com

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