Anti-gang sweep nets 6 arrests

Times Staff Writer

FBI agents fanned out across Southern California early Thursday and arrested six alleged members or associates of the Crenshaw Mafia Gangster Bloods street gang on federal drug and weapons charges, officials said.

Seven other people with alleged ties to the gang were indicted and are now being sought by agents. The arrests mark the fifth gang sweep this month, in which 125 suspects from five different gangs have been indicted or arrested, said Salvador Hernandez, head of the bureau’s Los Angeles field office.

The six arrested Thursday -- and the seven others being sought -- were indicted in September and October on charges of conspiring to distribute heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine base as well as various weapons offenses.


The suspects were identified as: Joseph Carter Jr., 42, of Wilmington; David Cole Jr., 64, of Long Beach; Debra Ann Johnson, 49, of La Mirada; Kenneth Bernard Riley, 45, of Moreno Valley; Gerald Plaze Thomas, 43, of Los Angeles; and Anthony Quin Wheeler, 47, of Inglewood.

According to an FBI news release, the Crenshaw Mafia is rooted in Inglewood, where it is believed to have begun operating in the early 1990s. The gang has since spread to other large cities, including Cleveland, Denver, Omaha and St. Louis.

Thursday’s arrests involved multiple federal and local law enforcement agencies.