Nearly three dozen members of the Rollin' 30s Harlem Crips were in custody Thursday morning on federal and state charges after early-morning raids by hundreds of LAPD officers and FBI agents across South Los Angeles, officials said.
The arrests on gang, drug and conspiracy charges are the culmination of Operation Thumbs Down, an investigation initiated in 2012 to target high-level members of the Rollin' 30s Harlem Crips, one of city's 10 most notorious gangs, federal officials said.
The investigation's name refers to hand gestures used by this gang, including two thumbs pointed upward, representing the “H” in Harlem.
The multi-generational gang operates primarily in between Jefferson and Martin Luther King Jr. boulevards, and Normandie Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard. That area has been the scene of 29 homicides in five years, according to LAPD.
In addition, about 1,100 robberies and 1,075 assaults have been reported in the 1.5-square-mile area that comprises the gang’s area. The Rollin' 30s gang is also suspected of committing a series of residential or “knock-knock” burglaries, referred to by the gang as “floccin" according to the FBI. Police departments in multiple counties are investigating those crimes.
According to federal investigators, the Rollin’ 30s is comprised of three factions, known as “cliques” or “sets,” identified as “The Avenues,” “Denker Park,” and “39th Street.” Each clique claims different geographical territories and has its own respective leaders in Los Angeles, who were targeted in Thursday's operation.
In addition to federal drug and gang conspiracy charges, many additional cases were filed with the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
The task force also served 34 federal search warrants and seized guns and drugs, officials said. A smoke shop and wireless store were among the locations raided.
The Los Angeles city attorney’s office said it is pursuing property abatement, evictions for gang-controlled locations, while the office of the inspector general for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is seeking the removal of gang members from housing units.
Before Thursday morning's sweep, task force members had arrested 60 Rollin’ 30s gang members and associates for state violations, seized 32 firearms and 22 pounds of rock cocaine.
[Updated at 3:38 p.m.: An earlier version of this post said those arrested were suspected gang members. Court records confirm they are gang members.]
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