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October 20, 2011

Task Force Investigation Results in Whittier-Area Gang Members Being Named in Federal Narcotics Trafficking Indictment

Filed under: Los Angeles Criminal attorney — Tags: , , , — fayarfa @ 10:33 pm

LOS ANGELES – An 18-month task force investigation this morning resulted in the arrest of 23 individuals – mostly gang members – who are named in a federal drug trafficking indictment that alleges they participated in a methamphetamine distribution organization that operated in Whittier and surrounding communities.

The main indictment names 31 defendants, all of whom are charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Two other people are named in single-defendant indictments, which means that Operation Grand Slam has resulted in charges against 33 defendants. In addition to the 23 defendants arrested this morning, six defendants were already in custody. Authorities are continuing to search for four fugitives.

Operation Grand Slam was an 18-month investigation into a methamphetamine distribution network that was responsible for street-level sales of the drug in the areas of Whittier, Santa Fe Springs and Pico Rivera. The drug ring allegedly was responsible for distributing nearly pure methamphetamine in transactions as large as one-half pound. Most of the defendants are affiliated with area street gangs, and many of the defendants are members and associates of the Los Nietos street gang.

Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Timothy J. Landrum said: “Criminal street gangs impact our communities through drug related violence as they attempt to expand their operations. Today’s arrests demonstrate the results that can be achieved as law enforcement joins together to reduce the threat of gangs in our neighborhoods.”

The main indictment alleges 13 counts, and all 31 defendants named in that indictment are charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Certain defendants are additionally charged with possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and felon in possession of a firearm. If convicted, all 31 defendants face potential life sentences, and all of them face mandatory minimum sentences of at least five years in federal prison.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Those taken into custody this morning will be arraigned on the indictment this afternoon in United States District Court in Los Angeles.

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