Gang crackdown of Mob Piru Bloods clique
Shirley Hawkins | 7/16/2009, 5 p.m.
A multi-agency task force of state and local investigators has served a series of warrants against a Compton gang, according to authorities.
About 450 state and local police officers swept through Compton, Lynwood and other parts of Los Angeles County in the early morning hours arresting 16 people and serving more than a dozen search warrants to members of the Mob Piru, a clique of the Bloods gang.
According to authorities, the raids were the culmination of a seven-month investigation called "Operation Killen Court." Authorities allege that members of the clique are responsible for a number of violent acts and are cited for running the area's underground gun trade.
Since the investigation began in December, 24 Mob Piru gang members have been arrested. Among those arrested were Alex Graves, 23, Maurice Bennet II, 19, and Robert Maxwell, 19.
Authorities allege that Maxwell killed Kyutza Joan Herrera in Lynwood last year in a drive-by shooting. One other person connected with the slaying is still being sought.
After Herrera's death, "Operation Killen Court" began when investigators in the Compton sheriff's station asked the state attorney general's office for assistance in prosecuting the gang after the fatal drive-by of Herrera.
Using wiretaps and other electronic surveillance, officials from the state attorney general's office and the Sheriff's Department launched an investigation and alleged that they observed gang members buy and sell guns and talk about killings.
Police said that Mob Piru, which began in the 1970s, boasts about 200 members. The Piru gangs are named after Piru Street in Compton and control much of the area east of Long Beach Boulevard. The gang began gaining notoriety in the 1990s with alleged connections to rap music impresario Suge Knight and Death Row Records.
Also among those arrested during the operation were three U.S. Postal Service employees, including Graves, who was arrested May 7 and is suspected of taking part in Hererra's slaying. The other postal workers arrested were Sergio Moran and Warren Phillipus.
Investigators said Phillipus robbed the Rancho Park post office in October and planned to rob the Rimpau Post Office but was thwarted by authorities.