Federal authorities have seized about 7.7 million doses of PCP and arrested 20 people in connection with a drug ring tied to a South Los Angeles street gang, officials announced Wednesday.
In two indictments, authorities charged 40 people with ties to the Grape Street Crips gang with dozens of counts, including possessing and distributing the highly addictive hallucinogenic, also known as "angel dust," illegal possession of specific illegal chemicals, maintaining a drug-involved property and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime.
Three of the defendants were already in custody and 17 remain at large.
"Today's operation breaks the grip that these drug makers and dealers have held on the neighborhoods of Watts and South Los Angeles by targeting the highest levels of PCP traffickers and those responsible for manufacture and distribution of this deadly drug," U.S. Atty. Andre Birotte Jr. said in a statement.
[Update 1:20 p.m. PST Feb. 12:
In connection with the crackdown, L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer announced the city is seeking an injunction against three address that authorities said hosted drug dealing, dog fights and were loaded with weapons. The addresses are located near education centers and elementary schools. Feuer filed a suit seeking a court order for the property owners at each location to improve the land, with improvements such as added lighting, secure entrances, tenant screening and security guards. Without those improvements, the court woud close the property.]
The indictments and arrests come after a six-year investigation focused on Grape Street Crips' ties to PCP. Southern California is one of the major production hubs for the drug nationwide, officials said.
The gang was distributing the drug through couriers and mail to Texas, Maryland, North Carolina, Oklahoma and New York. Authorities seized about 100 gallons of PCP and its precursor chemicals, which equated to nearly 7.7 million doses.