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San Pedro Sting Leads To Arrest Of 80 Alleged Gang Members

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SAN PEDRO (CBS) — A major law enforcement operation targeting violent criminal activity ended in the arrest of 80 alleged gang members.

Officials from nine agencies ranging from the Drug Enforcement Agency, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Secret Service and the LAPD, served over 90 search warrants just after midnight Wednesday in San Pedro. Authorities said this sting involved more than 1,300 personnel and was the largest gang take-down in Los Angeles history.

“This is not the first and most certainly won’t be the last in a series of large scale take-downs of the core members… of criminal street gangs in Los Angeles,” Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said in a press conference Thursday.

Authorities arrested 66 people for state weapons and drug violations, and 14 people on federal indictments.

Of the 80 arrested, officials say a large majority are members of the Rancho San Pedro street gang. The RSP gang’s origins date back to the 1970s. Its membership includes 600 documented members, as well as more than 400 associates.

Authorities said the arrests are the result of a 2.5 year investigation involving large-scale firearms, drug trafficking operations and other felony federal and state charges. Authorities seized about 90 weapons and an unknown amount of drugs.

“Our goal is simply this: to dismantle these gangs from top to bottom,” U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr.said.

In total, more than 230 people are named in federal and state court documents with more arrests possible.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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