In the wake of a predawn raid accompanied by flash grenades, tear gas, rubber bullets and conducted by a joint task force of federal, state and local law enforcement officials last Thursday, a spokesperson for the United States attorney general’s office said 21 alleged members and associates of the Black P-Stone gang were arraigned in federal court and trial dates have been set.
And on Friday, beginning at 7 a.m. Los Angeles Police and community agencies plan to follow up the raid in lower Baldwin Village with a program to clean up abandoned vehicles, graffiti and helping building owners come into compliance with city codes.
According to LAPD Capt. Melissa Zak of the Southwest Division, this clean up is also part of the authority’s efforts to control attempts by rival gangs and others within the Black P-Stones to step into the leadership void created by the arrests of some alleged high-level members of the gang.
Additionally, city officials intend to bring intervention programs into Baldwin Village to help redirect youths before they get caught up in gangs.
The majority of the 21 people hit with federal indictments were 30 to 50 years old.
The 21 are also among 75 individuals identified for arrest as a result of a yearlong investigation into the activities of this Blood-affiliated gang, which is said to operate in the Baldwin Village area of Los Angeles.
The arrests were a mixture of federal, state and local arrest warrants. The 21 federal defendants were charged in 15 indictments returned by a grand jury, and an additional 54 state warrants that were filed with the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
Among the charges the defendants face are possession and conspiracy to possess methamphetamine and cocaine base, known as “crack.”
This latest raid was a follow-up on a 2006 action against the Black P-Stones, where 17 people were convicted and sentenced to federal prison, and 12 convicted and sent to state prison.
According to officials, the Black P-Stones’ history dates back to the early 1960s. It has 1,000 members locally and another 32,000 around the country, said City Attorney Carmen Trutanich at a press conference following the raid, and they are ranked among the top 10 gangs in Los Angeles.
They are alleged to be involved in violent crimes, including murder, assault and robberies, as well as narcotics and firearm violations.
The gang also allegedly operates a cell phone store on Wilshire Boulevard.