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The Law Comes Down On Gangs In Santa Barbara

Of all the things that make this area so beautiful, gangs aren’t one of them. Law enforcement has come down hard on some gang members in the area.

By Chris Meagher
Santa Barbara Independent
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – A total of 28 Santa Barbara Eastside gang members were indicted by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles last week, including 19 people under the RICO (Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations) Act, originally used to target the Mafia. The racketeering charges are the first ever to be brought on residents of the Central Coast.
Nine of those indicted were arrested Wednesday in an early morning operation involving more than 400 law enforcement officers from 18 local, state, and federal agencies and exclusively targeting the Eastside gang. More than 60 residences were searched this morning, resulting in the arrests. Another 17 defendants charged in the indictments were already in custody on state charges and will be handed over to federal authorities. In addition to the federal defendants, 17 others are expected to be charged in Santa Barbara Superior Court.
The indictment, according to the U.S. attorney, alleges the Eastside gang was responsible for the murders of two rival gang members last year, and also tried to kill six others.
It also indicates members of the gang were hostile to the presence of African-Americans in areas frequented by the gang, and that Eastsiders would attack individuals in their “turf” to control the area. Allegations of conspiracy to commit murder, distribute narcotics, and robbery were all included in the indictment.
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