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18 arrested in LAPD, DEA sweep targeting Wilmington gang

Eighteen members and associates of a violent street gang with ties to the Mexican Mafia were arrested in Los Angeles’ Wilmington neighborhood early Wednesday morning, according to police and federal prosecutors.

The arrests were part of a larger investigation dubbed “Operation Tidal Wave,” which focused on members of the Wilmas Street gang, which has operated near the city’s harbor since the 1950s, said Lt. Chris Ramirez, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department.

In all, 29 members and associates have been charged as part of a racketeering indictment that accuses gang members of committing murder, attempted murder, drug trafficking, robbery and witness intimidation stretching back to 2008, according to a news release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“The devastating impact that this gang has had on the community cannot be overstated, but today’s takedown will help to restore order across Wilmington and ensure that those responsible for the violence and other criminal acts will be taken off the streets for years,” U.S. Atty. Eileen M. Decker said in a statement.

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Ten of those charged in the indictment were already in custody on unrelated matters, Ramirez said, and another remains at large. The investigation began in 2012, and police have seized at least eight pounds of methamphetamine and several firearms in the past few years, according to Ramirez.

The Wilmas Street Gang is known to be “loyal to the Mexican Mafia,” and has trafficked firearms and attacked rivals at the notorious prison faction’s behest, federal prosecutors said.

james.queally@latimes.com

 

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Follow @JamesQueallyLAT for crime and police news in California.


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