Feds target California for gang, marijuana raids

More than 1,100 agents from the FBI and local police agencies conducted pre-dawn raids on 47 residences across South Los Angeles Oct. 22, arresting 74 suspected members of the Rolling 40s street gang. “They have a vise grip on the neighborhood, and we are going to release that grip this morning,” Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese of the Los Angeles Police Department said of the gang. More than 30 of those detained face federal charges that could carry sentences from 20 years to life. The sweep was the culmination of an 18-month investigation. The FBI said more than 500 people have been arrested since May in 10 Southern California anti-gang sweeps. (AP, Oct. 22)

That same day, federal authorities in California announced charges against 18 people they said operated a lucrative marijuana-growing operation based in several Central Valley homes. The DEA estimated the value of the crop at nearly $100 million a year. All suspects are from the San Francisco Bay area. Nine were arrested on drug and real estate fraud charges, while the others remain fugitives. The actions bring to 34 the number of people who have been charged in an investigation dating to 2006 and 2007. At that time, law enforcement agents discovered 24,500 marijuana plants growing in 50 homes in Sacramento, Elk Grove, Lathrop, Modesto, Stockton and Tracy. Prosecutors said the growers bought homes in subdivisions, then punched out interior walls, installed ventilation and hydration equipment, and tapped power lines to grow thousands of plants. (AP, Oct. 22)

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