Indictment an in-depth look at South L.A. gang's alleged operations

Indictment an in-depth look at South L.A. gang's alleged operations
One of the 48 suspects arrested during an inter-agency gang sweep is processed by federal court agents in the parking lot of the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena on Tuesday. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Federal prosecutors Tuesday unsealed a 212-page racketeering indictment against dozens of suspected members and associates of the 52 Broadway Gangster Crips, detailing how they allegedly robbed homes across the South Bay, used women to move drugs and punished anyone who talked to law enforcement authorities.

The massive document charges 72 people and provides an in-depth window into the gang’s lifestyle and alleged operations. Forty-eight of those listed in the indictment were detained early Tuesday as hundreds of Los Angeles police officers, FBI and state corrections agents raided their homes.

Federal, state and Los Angeles police investigators allege the gang is responsible for committing at least four murders since 1987. The indictment alleges, in detail, more than two decades of shootings, stabbings and violent confrontations with police, including dozens of armed robberies across the region.

The multi-generational gang thought nothing of selling its drugs near schools and playgrounds at the center of their territory at 52nd Street and Broadway, said Bill Lewis, FBI special agent in charge for L.A.


The joint state, local and federal operation was initiated after an investigation by state corrections investigators.

Much of the gang's money is made by selling drugs near skid row, but sales extend to as far away as Louisiana and Minnesota, prosecutors allege.

The gang had a code for its crack cocaine drug trade, referring to a gram as a "gangster," 3.5 grams as a "soda," 7 grams as a "beer" and 63 grams as a "Chevy," the indictment said.

The gang set up a network of scouts with cellphones to warn other gang members when police entered their territory, the indictment alleged. To hide its activities, the indictment alleges, the gang disciplined members for even talking to cops or getting their name on police reports they call "paperwork."

To cover for their activities, the gang uses "female associates to rent out residences, establish credit accounts, rent vehicles and transport controlled substances," because it's believed they draw less attention, according to the indictment.

Members are typically "jumped" into the gang by physically fighting other members until an original gangster stops it or 52 seconds pass.

Such is their allegiance to the "Five Deuce," they hold an annual party on May 2 to remember fallen gangsters, jump in new ones and make plans.

Within the gang, a clique of enforcers dubbed the "Gremlin Riders" committed the most violent crimes, armed robberies, murders and punished any potential snitches.

The gang conspired to murder one member who provided information to authorities, threatened the surviving witness of a 2002 shooting and, two years ago, even shot at the California Highway Patrol officer who had followed them into their territory, according to the indictment.

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