Several people were arrested Wednesday in connection with a federal drug case targeting a San Pedro gang, officials said.
Authorities from numerous federal and local law enforcement agencies served warrants at 18 locations in the San Pedro area and arrested four people named in federal indictments, while seven people were already in custody, Tracy Wilkinson, first assistant U.S. attorney, said. Two people remain fugitives.
During the two-year investigation into the Rancho San Pedro gang, 45 firearms and a "significant amount" of money and drugs were seized.
Los Angeles Police Assistant Commanding Officer Al Labrada said the investigation began after authorities saw an uptick in violent crimes, including shootings and five homicides, in the San Pedro area. The gang has been active since the 1970s, Bill Bodner of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The indictments allege that gang members and their associates sold methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and prescription opioid pills and that most of the transactions occurred at or near a hotel and two bars in the San Pedro area, Wilkinson said. In addition, those indicted are accused of operating under the control of the Mexican Mafia, and engaging in violence and intimidation to protect the larger gang's territory. Rancho San Pedro members allegedly collected taxes from drug transactions that was funneled to three Mexican Mafia members serving sentences in prison for murder, officials said.
Two of the locations, the Barton Hill Hotel and the Enigma bar, both along Pacific Avenue, were eventually shutdown during the investigation, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said. He explained that the locations were a source of drugs and guns for the gang. In one case, the city attorney elaborated, a 14-year-old had been drinking at the bar before a person bumped into him, leading to a shooting.
Feuer said a nuisance abatement team is working to transform the properties into "something the community can count on."
Thirteen of the defendants named in the indictments face lengthy prison sentences.