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    FBI & LBPD In Joint Operation Aimed At LB Violent Street Crime Arrest Multiple Gang Members

    (Sept. 30, 2005) -- In the first operation involving federal and local law enforcement aimed at combating violent street crime in Long Beach, FBI Agents and LBPD Detectives and Officers made a series of early morning arrests on Sept. 29 that brought the hammer down on members of LB's notorious "Insane Crips" street gang.

    LB Police Chief Anthony Batts, quoted in the FBI release, said investigation revealed that a gang war which produced numerous shootings in LB neighborhoods was centered on narcotics and gang turf.

    Thirteen alleged gang members are now in custody and facing federal charges of narcotics distribution, detailed in multiple federal indictments unsealed Sept. 29 and annoucned at a news conference by Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in L.A., J.P. Weis, and LBPD Chief Batts.

    According to federal indictments filed under seal last month, eighteen defendants are charged in "Operation Asylum" with the sale and distribution of cocaine-base, or crack, and methamphetamine. The large majority of drug transactions were sold through undercover FBI confidential informants, the FBI said in a written release.

    Three additional subjects were taken into custody as a result of five federal and three state search warrants executed in the operation.

    In the written release, FBI Special Agent Weis said the "arrests are a testament to the FBI’s role in assisting local authorities in the fight against the violence street gangs pose to our communities. This type of activity contributes to the pervasive brutality that plagues the city streets and citizens of Long Beach and other areas, and robs young adults and children of their future when manipulated into joining violent gangs."

    LBPD Chief Batts said in the release:

    The reduction of violent crime has been a major focus of my Department. These arrests represent some of the most violent criminals in our community. I would like to thank the FBI for their commitment to this investigation. At the end of 2002 and leading into 2003, the City of Long Beach experienced a dramatic spike in gang-related shootings and violence between two local gangs. This "gang war" resulted in numerous shootings in Long Beach neighborhoods.

    Investigation revealed that the core of this violence was centered on narcotics and gang turf. The success of this collaborative investigation which spanned more than two years, will translate into many lives being saved and young futures ensured. This is an excellent example of what can happen when law enforcement at the local and federal level work together toward a common goal.

    In a recent case stemming from the Operation Asylum investigation, Alejandro Serrano, 60, of LB, a known supplier to the Insane Crips, was convicted in federal court on three counts of distribution of cocaine base, or crack cocaine. He was sentenced to twenty years imprisonment.

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