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Press Release

74 MEMBERS OF ROLLIN’ 40’S CRIPS VIOLENT STREET GANG CHARGED WITH FEDERAL AND STATE NARCOTICS VIOLATIONS IN OPERATION “40 OUNCES TO FREEDOM”

More than 1,000 police officers and federal agents executed dozens of arrest and search warrants this morning in a coordinated operation in which members of a violent street gang were taken into custody for their alleged roles in the widespread distribution of narcotics. The results of today’s operation were announced by George S. Cardona, Acting United States Attorney in Los Angeles; William Bratton, Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department; Keith Bolcar, Acting Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI in Los Angeles; and Carmen Trutanich, City Attorney in Los Angeles. The announcement of the law enforcement operation called “40 Ounces to Freedom” was made on behalf of multiple agencies that participated in the investigation to assist the FBI/LAPD task force.

Seventy-four members of the gang known as the “Rollin’ 40s Neighborhood Crips” were charged in 23 federal indictments and 45 state warrants for their alleged roles in a narcotics trafficking conspiracy that operated within a three-square-mile area of Los Angeles. The federal indictments that were unsealed this morning charge 29 gang members with crimes that include conspiracy, possession with the intent to distribute cocaine base (“crack”) and methamphetamine, and firearms violations. Forty-five additional members of the gang are named in state charges filed in Los Angeles Superior Court for their roles in the illegal drug distribution operation. Many of the defendants at the federal and state level were arrested this morning; however several defendants were already in custody on both related and unrelated charges. Several subjects of this operation are still being sought by law enforcement, including six federal defendants and 20 state defendants.

The FBI/LAPD task force initiated an investigation in 2008 to address gang-related crime and persistent violence fueled by narcotics trafficking being reported in the city of Los Angeles. Using statistics, including offenses reported to the police, and further analysis, the task force identified the Rollin’ 40s Neighborhood Crips territory as among the most violent in the city, and focused on the “shotcallers” who control the criminal activity in the area.

The Rollin’ 40’s Neighborhood Crips is a violent Crips gang that operates primarily in a three-square-mile area of South Los Angeles, an area which falls under the jurisdiction of the LAPD’s Southwest Division. The Rollin’ 40s have established strong ties to other gangs under the “Neighborhood Crips” umbrella, as well as other Crips gangs in the local neighborhood. The Los Angeles Police Department has identified this gang as one of the 10 most violent gangs in the city of Los Angeles.

The Rollin’ 40s are organized into four loosely affiliated cliques that control their particular neighborhood area. Its members are known to be involved in a variety of crimes, including murder, assault, robberies, narcotics and firearms violations. Each clique is controlled by a shotcaller who determines the overall strategy relative to the criminal activity within the clique.

Prior to the charges announced today, this investigation resulted in 51 felony arrests and 35 misdemeanor arrests, separate from those individuals sought today, including members of the Rollin’ 40s gang and members of other gangs. Among those arrested were active parolees and felony probationers. In addition to substantial quantities of narcotics, task force members seized several handguns, rifles and a large amount of cash during this investigation. During today’s operation, narcotics were seized, as well as approximately 10 weapons.

The Los Angeles County City Attorney’s Office has brought parallel civil actions as part of this investigation, including five nuisance abatement lawsuits against six separate properties being used by gang members to conduct criminal activity, including drug transactions and illegal weapon storage. For each abatement, the City Attorney’s office will seek an injunction against the owner ordering various improvements, orders to stay away from gang members named as defendants in the lawsuits, civil penalties and additional fees. In addition to the five lawsuits, the City Attorney’s Office is notifying property owners that, by law, tenants conducting illegal drug activity must be evicted. A permanent injunction was filed against the gang in 2008.

Based on federal sentencing laws, the mandatory minimum sentence each federal defendant faces is five years in prison. Eleven of the federal defendants face mandatory minimum sentences of 10 years in prison. If convicted of the charges, several federal defendants face between 20 years to life in prison. Federal defendants arrested today will make an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles this afternoon.

This case was investigated by agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and detectives with the Los Angeles Police Department, in coordination with the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office. Multiple agencies participated in today’s operation, including the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the Department of Transportation, the California Highway Patrol, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Los Angeles City Fire Department – EMS Services, the Los Angeles County Probation Department, and the Los Angeles County Department of Child and Family Services.

The federal defendants will be prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles. The District Attorney in Los Angeles will prosecute defendants charged by the state.

The FBI/LAPD Task Force is one of many FBI Safe Streets Task Forces throughout the United States, funded for the purpose of assisting local police in identifying and addressing violent crime in America.

Media Contacts:

FBI: Laura Eimiller: 310 996-3343 or

Lourdes Arocho (Spanish speaker): 310 996-4402

LAPD Media Relations: 213 485-3586

U. S. Attorney’s Office Public Affairs: Thom Mrozek: 213 894-6947

Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office: Nick Velasquez: 213-507-4434

Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office: 213 974-3525


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Time October 22, 2009 at 5:42 pm

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