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Gang sweep nabs 24

Mark R. Madler

More than 20 people were arrested early Tuesday morning on charges of

conspiracy to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine as part of an

ongoing investigation into a San Fernando Valley street gang.

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Burbank and Glendale police were among the 600 officers who made

the 24 arrests in Reseda, Van Nuys, Winnetka, Porter Ranch and other

cities of the suppliers of drugs to the Vineland Boyz street gang.

Police seized drugs, guns, jewelry, 18 vehicles and $43,000 in

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cash.

“What we have is narcotics trafficking by this particular cell

that is attached to the same supplier providing the source of

narcotics to the Vineland Boyz,” Los Angeles Police Deputy Michael

Hillmannsaid. “It is not unusual for these groups to exchange guns

between themselves to support their criminal activity.”

As police were investigating the Vineland Boyz, information led

them to Tuesday’s 24 arrests, Drug Enforcement Administration

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Associate Special Agent-in-Charge Briane Grey said.

“Our strategy is a success,” Grey said. “Our goal is to take our

resources and identify the violent, drug-trafficking gangs in the

area and bring them to justice.”

The arrests follow by a month the indictment of 43 members of the

Vineland Boyz on charges of racketeering, drug possession and

distribution, possession of firearms, murder, attempted murder and

intimidation of witnesses.

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Among those charged last month was David Garcia, 21, who has been

charged with the November 2003 murder of Burbank Police Officer

Matthew Pavelka.

The investigation also resulted in the July 13 arrest of Burbank

City Councilwoman Stacey Murphy and her boyfriend Scott Schaffer, of

Glendale, who is alleged to have traded handguns for cocaine with

members of the Vineland Boyz.

Murphy, 47, was arrested for possession of cocaine and child

endangerment for allegedly having three handguns in the garage that

were accessible to her 12-year-old son.

Murphy is free on $100,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in

Burbank Superior Court on Aug. 25.

Schaffer, 51, faces federal weapons and drug charges and remains

in federal custody. He is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court

on July 28.

Police officials said Tuesday they were still looking for seven

Vineland Boyz members indicted in June.

The seven were mid-level distributors who had access to hundreds

of pounds of drugs, Grey said.


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