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LOS ANGELES—Over 800 hundred law enforcement officers and agents served dozens of arrest and search warrants this morning in Operation Thumbs Down, an 18-month investigation that targeted members and associates of the Rollin’ 30s Harlem Crips, a South Los Angeles street gang that ranks among the Los Angeles Police Department’s top targeted street gangs, announced André Birotte Jr., the United States Attorney in Los Angeles; Bill Lewis, the Assistant Director in Charge of FBI in Los Angeles; Charlie Beck, the Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department; and Mike Feuer, the City Attorney in Los Angeles.
Thirty-five defendants currently charged with federal and state violations are in custody following this morning’s Operation Thumbs Down, an investigation initiated in 2012 to identify and target high-level members of the Rollin 30s Harlem Crips, a gang known for violence in the community it claims as its territory. Several remaining defendants charged at either the state or federal level were already in custody on unrelated charges or are considered fugitives currently being sought by task force members. The investigation was dubbed Thumbs Down by the task force in reference to hand gestures used by this gang, including two thumbs pointed upward, representing the “H” in the word “Harlem.”
The Rollin 30s Crips is a known multi-generational violent gang that operates primarily in South Los Angeles and has ties to other gangs with whom they are known to have violent disputes. The Rollin’ 30s is composed of three factions, known as “cliques” or “sets,” identified as The Avenues, Denker Park, and 39th Street. Each clique claims different geographical territories within the gang’s overall claimed territory, and has its own respective leaders or “shotcallers,” who direct the gang’s criminal activity. Law enforcement estimates there are between 700 and 1,000 Rollin 30s gang members. During Operations Thumbs Down, task force members targeted these “shotcallers” within the Rollin’ 30s’ criminal enterprise.
Twenty-one defendants were named in federal indictments returned by a grand jury in United States District Court in Los Angeles. The federal indictments charge the defendants with a variety of narcotics and weapons violations, including: possession of cocaine base (“crack”) with intent to distribute; conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine base (“crack”); felon in possession of a firearm; maintaining drug-involved premises; and unlicensed dealing in firearms.
Those charged federally are listed below:
Several additional cases were filed with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, many of whom are in custody following this morning’s operation. In addition to the arrests made this morning, task force members also served 34 federal search warrants and seized a variety of firearms and quantities of narcotics. During the investigation, the task force augmented its suppression efforts by partnering with agencies in order to address long-term community stability. The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office is pursuing civil actions to include property abatement, evictions, and case conferences for gang-controlled locations. In addition, the Office of the Inspector General for the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD-OIG) is addressing violations related to Section 8 Housing, which will include the removal of tenants.
Crime statistics indicate there have been 29 homicides within the past five years in the gang’s territory, which incorporates the neighborhood between Jefferson Avenue, Martin Luther King Avenue, Normandie Avenue, and Crenshaw Avenue. In addition, approximately 1100 robberies and 1075 assaults have been reported in the 1.5 square mile area that comprises the gang’s claimed territory. The Rollin 30s Harlem Crips is also suspected of committing a series of residential or “knock-knock” burglaries, referred to by the gang as “floccin.” Police departments in multiple counties throughout Southern California are investigating members of the Rollin 30s Harlem Crips in connection with these robberies.
Throughout the investigation and prior to today, task force members arrested 60 Rollin’ 30s gang members and associates for state violations, seized 32 firearms, and seized in excess of 10 kilograms of rock cocaine.
Nineteen of the 21 federal defendants are in custody and two are considered fugitives. Three of the federal defendants were already incarcerated on unrelated charges and are expected to be transferred to federal custody.
Many of the federal defendants face mandatory-minimum prison terms ranging from five to 10 years, depending on the quantities of narcotics alleged and individual criminal histories, and maximum penalties of 20 or 30 years in federal prison. Federal defendants arrested today will make an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles this afternoon.
This case is the result of an investigation by members of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Task Force on Violent Gangs, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Los Angeles Police Department; the United States Attorney’s Office; and the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.
Multiple agencies assisted the task force during this investigation and today’s operation, including the United States Secret Service; the Department of Child and Family Services; the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development-Office of Inspector General; the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department; the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation; the Los Angeles County Department of Probation; and agencies that participate on the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Agency (HIDTA).
The federal defendants will be prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office. The defendants arrested for violations of California state law will be prosecuted by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Additional information about violent street gangs across America can be found athttp://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/2011-national-gang-threat-assessment
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in court.
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