Gangsters Controlled Drug Turf Near DTLA Hipster Neighborhood, Feds Say

Comments (4)


Wed, Jun 18, 2014 at 7:03 AM
  • Courtesy U.S. Department of Justice
A gang that claims drug-selling territory just steps away from some of downtown L.A.'s most happening bars and lofts was put against the ropes by a huge federal crackdown this week, authorities said.

The Five Deuce Broadway Gangsta Crips targeted "addicts and the mentally ill" with crack cocaine sales, sometimes soliciting folks seeking drug treatment and counseling, Assistant U.S. Attorney Mack E. Jenkins told L.A. Weekly.

The gang had its hands on an array of drugs, including, according to feds ...

 ... crack, powdered cocaine, methamphetamine, PCP, ecstasy, marijuana and codeine syrup, a key ingredient in sizzurp. Jenkins told us the Broadway Gangsta Crips usually reserved the codeine syrup for other members.

He said the gang did not sell to nearby hipsters in gentrifying areas bordering its downtown territory, preferring instead to prey on the homeless.

"They worked late nights and early mornings," he said. "It was past their bedtime to a certain extent."

Fifty members of the gang's Gremlin Riderz clique were arrested yesterday by a whopping 1,300 Los Angeles Police Department officers and FBI agents, federal authorities said in a statement.

Seventy-two members of the 200-strong gang had been indicted for alleged murder, extortion, drug trafficking and witness intimidation, prosecutors said.

The epicenter of the gang's turf is 52nd Street and Broadway in South L.A., but the organization maintained lucrative drug territory in the heart of Skid Row, with boundaries of 5th and 7th streets on the north and south and Central Avenue and Crocker Street on the east and west, according to the indictment.

The territory rubs up against the Arts District and its red-hot real estate. The indictment alleges that the Broadway Crips did not allow members of other gangs to hang out in the area and that they let residents know through graffiti that the area was "controlled and inhabited" by its soldiers.

While Skid Row was the heart-and-soul of the gang's retail operations, the Broadway Crips' trafficking reached Nevada, Colorado, Ohio, Minnesota and Louisiana, prosecutors alleged.

Among the gang's many alleged crimes was a murder following a Ludacris concert at the West Hollywood House of Blues on March 10, 2003, according to prosecutors.

Gang members in a Range Rover and in other cars blocked the path of a vehicle on Sunset Boulevard, and the driver and a passenger were shot by Broadway Crips members, authorities alleged. The driver, a Latino man with a rap sheet for drugs but with no gang affiliation, was killed, Jenkins told us.
click to enlarge U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
  • U.S. Department of Justice
He said the attack followed some kind of "verbal altercation." "Shooters on both sides [of the victim] were yelling 'Five Deuce Broadway Gangsta Crips,'" he said.

Specific counts against those indicted include, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in L.A., ...
 ... conspiracy to engage in racketeering activity in violation of the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act; violent crimes in aid of racketeering; conspiracy to interfere with commerce by conducting a series of robberies that targeted bank customers; weapons offenses; and various drug trafficking activities involving crack cocaine, cocaine, methamphetamine, phencyclidine (PCP), Ecstasy, marijuana and codeine.
Four murders are included in the indictment, which also alleges that members shot at California Highway Patrol officers, tried to intimidate cops installing surveillance video cameras on their turf, and committed "follow-home robberies" of South Bay bank customers.

Fifty of 72 targeted members were in custody, feds said.

The U.S. Attorney in L.A., André Birotte Jr., said this:
What makes the conduct of this gang particularly insidious is not only the violent crimes alleged, but also the exploitation of Skid Row drug users who are already living in difficult circumstances.
Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

Related Content

Now Trending

Los Angeles Concert Tickets


  • 21st Annual Classic Cars "Cruise Night" in Glendale
    On Saturday, spectators of all ages were out in multitudes on a beautiful summer night in Glendale to celebrate the 21st annual Cruise Night. Brand Boulevard, one of the main streets through downtown Glendale, was closed to traffic and lined with over 250 classic, pre-1979 cars. There was plenty of food to be had and many of the businesses on Brand stayed open late for the festivities The evening ended with fireworks and a 50th anniversary concert from The Kingsmen, who performed their ultimate party hit, "Louie, Louie." All photos by Jared Cowan.
  • The World Cup Celebrated And Mourned By Angelenos
    The World Cup has taken Los Angeles by storm. With viewings beginning at 9 a.m., soccer fans have congregated at some of the best bars in the city including The Village Idiot, Goal, The Parlour on Melrose, Big Wang's and more. Whether they're cheering for their native country, favorite players or mourning the USA's loss, Angelenos have paid close attention to the Cup, showing that soccer is becoming more than a fad. All photos by Daniel Kohn.
  • La Brea Tar Pits "Pit 91" Re-Opening
    Starting June 28th, The Page Museum once again proudly unveils the museum's Observation Pit, which originally opened in 1952 but has spent most of the last half century closed. Now visitors can get an up-close look at Pit 91, which is currently under excavation. The La Brea Tar Pits, home of the Page Museum, is one of the world's most famous ice age fossil locations, known for range of fossils from saber-toothed cats and mammoths to microscopic plants, seeds and insects. The new "Excavator Tour" is free with museum admission if purchased online at tarpits.org . All photos by Nanette Gonzales.