Federal agents and police swept into a South Los Angeles housing project Wednesday and arrested dozens of alleged gang members indicted on federal racketeering charges for murder, drug dealing and assaults, law enforcement officials said.
The raid against the Pueblo Bishop Bloods, a group believed to have long kept a tight, violent grip on drug sales and other illegal activity in the Pueblo del Rio housing project, was the culmination of a two-year investigation by the FBI, Los Angeles Police Department and other agencies, officials said.
Code-named Operation Family Ties because of the gang's tight-knit affiliations, the sweep targeted a few dozen alleged members of the gang who are accused of various federal charges in a broad, 88-page indictment handed down last week by a grand jury.
Nineteen were arrested on federal charges Wednesday. Others named in the indictment were already in custody on unrelated charges and several more are fugitives, according to information released by the agencies. Ten other gang members were taken into custody on state narcotics charges.
The accused gang members face a host of charges dating back as far as 1999, including murder; drug manufacturing near schools and playgrounds; cocaine, heroin and marijuana sales; assaults; and attacks on police officers.
The move against Pueblo Bishop is the latest action in a long-running effort by federal prosecutors and law enforcement agencies to disrupt or break up gangs that have become deeply entrenched in the Los Angeles region over several decades.
Prosecutors, who have characterized Pueblo Bishop as a well-structured criminal organization, brought racketeering charges against the gang under a special anti-organized-crime law called the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act that allows for more serious charges and longer prison sentences.
"The federal racketeering indictment and today's law enforcement operation strikes at the gang's leadership and will drastically limit the gang's ability to conduct business," U.S. Atty. Andre Birotte Jr. said in a statement.