Federal agents arrested ten members of 18th Street gang, one of the largest gangs in Los Angeles on Thursday in a two-day operation targeting the distribution of narcotics and the unlawful sale of firearms.
The collaborative effort by the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, LAPD, and L.A. Sheriff’s Department was spearheaded on Tuesday and continued into Wednesday with the arrests of eight individuals. The remaining two suspect will be transported from Honolulu and Indianapolis.
According to the L.A. Times, three others who are facing similar charges were already in custody, and there is a continuing search for five other suspects, the U.S. attorney’s office revealed.
Federal Prosecutors said the indictments, which include federal narcotics and weapons crimes, followed a two-year investigation into the 18th Street gang.
Authorities said roughly 9 pounds of meth and 14 weapons, including five assault rifles, were confiscated during the bust.
Among the arrests were Giovanny Ochoa, 26, and Aveline Villalba, 36. Both were charged with selling about a quarter-pound of meth to undercover officers. Ochoa is also a suspect in another narcotics deal.
In one incident Ochoa met an undercover officer in front of a grocery store where he wanted to sell a quarter-pound of meth for $1,500.
Ochoa and Villalba are each facing a 10-year mandatory prison term with the possibility of life if found guilty of the narcotics and weapons offenses, Univision reported.
All eight of those arrested have been charged and pleaded not guilty. The two suspects arrested outside the state remains in custody without bond and will be extradited to L.A. in the next couple of weeks.
“The arrests are the culmination of an investigation conducted by the National Security Research Office (HSI) that began in December 2014,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office Central for the District of California said in a statement. “The investigation focused on the distribution and sale of methamphetamine and the unlicensed sale of firearms.”.