Nearly four dozen alleged gang members were arrested early Tuesday morning during a crackdown on a South Los Angeles gang accused of committing murders, robberies and peddling drugs over two decades.
Federal prosecutors say FBI agents and police arrested 50 people Tuesday with ties to the Five Deuce Broadway Gangster Crips. Authorities believe there are 200 people who belong to this gang.
The three-year federal investigation targeted a small clique or subset of the gang called the Gremlin Riderz, which claims the area centered at 52nd Street and South Broadway in South L.A.
Authorities say the gang formed in the 1970s to confront other African-American street gangs. Some of the rivals include Latino gangs, Blood street gangs and the East Coast Crips gang.
According to an indictment that names 72 people, gang members murdered four people dating back to 1987, shot at California Highway Patrol officers two years ago and robbed bank customers.
“The indictment outlines a string of violent bank robberies where victims were followed from their homes in the South Bay,” said Los Angeles FBI assistant director Bill Lewis.
Lewis accused the gang of selling drugs to people living on Skid Row and intimidating witnesses so they wouldn’t cooperate with police on investigations.
Special Agent Robert Clark, in charge of the gang program at the FBI's Los Angeles office, said he believes they have taken out a significant portion of the gang’s top and middle leadership. He said more than half of the gang was arrested Tuesday in the sweep; 17 others were already in custody.
“We’ve removed a lot of the influence in that gang,” he said.
The Pasadena Police Department, the San Bernardino District Attorney’s Office and the Buena Park Police Department were among the various law enforcement agencies that participated in the investigation and arrests.
“Some of the gang members will come to Los Angeles to gang bang,” Clark said. “They will come here for violence. They will come here for drug trafficking.”
Clark said the FBI analyzed neighborhood crime rates in the Broadway corridor area to determine whether federal authorities should target a criminal street gang.
“We measure the quality of life factors,” he said. “Can children walk to school safely? Can people stand at the bus stop? Can people walk to work?”
The L.A. City Attorney’s Office has filed three civil lawsuits against the owners of three properties it alleges are drug and gun stash houses for the Broadway Crips gang.
Four of the defendants were arrested in other states: Illinois, Nevada, Minnesota and Arizona. The FBI is still looking for eight more people considered to be fugitives.
This story has been updated.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated when the sweep was in one instance. KPCC regrets the error.