Updated after the jump: A Long Beach gang expert gives us the Longo lowdown.
The East Side Longos may have been laughing after Marvin "Shy Boy'' Mercado, an ex-leader of rival gang Asian Boyz, was threatened by prosecutors with the death penalty in L.A. Superior Court last week -- but not for long.
They had their own giant run-in with the law early yesterday morning at about 4 a.m. ...
... when 45 simultaneous searches were conducted by officers from the Long Beach Police Department, the LAPD, the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, the U.S. Marshals Service, the L.A. County Probation Department, California parole officials and the Department of Children and Family Services (because at least two shooting suspects were minors, and four children needed to be taken into custody).
Holy mother of raids. When all was said and done, 13 gang members had been cuffed -- 11 of them for felony charges.
Long Beach police suspect the Longos have been involved in at least six shootings over the last few months, including an incident two weeks ago in which two officers were targeted, and one hit, by underage-gangster gunfire.
According to the Long Beach Post, there were also several weapons -- a rifle, ammunition and a handful o' handguns -- seized in the wee-hour crackdown. The goods:
Of course, the East Side Longos form arguably the largest and most violent Latino gang in Long Beach -- mainly patrolling one central strip. So 13 members up for trial, in the end, is not a huge hit to operations. But combined with the May Longo raid, which included the arrest of the gang's alleged leader, it appears the LBPD (and their cohorts) may be slowly cracking the ice for a big East Coast-style mafia bust, of sorts. We can't wait to hear their nicknames.
Because we were curious -- and who wouldn't be? -- we YouTubed the Longos. Crazy shit. Now we share with you a painful turf rap from one budding member, just for the heck of it:
We're waiting to hear back from a gang expert at the Long Beach Police Department for more info on the ESL crew. Until then, you'll have to trust Wikipedia. Or Urban Dictionary, if you've got the stomach for comment-forum gang wars conducted by some of the West Coast's most X-treme potty mouths. Don't say we didn't warn you.
Update: A spokesman for the LBPD's gang intelligence unit, under Sergeant Phil Cloughesy, tells us that the Longos are indeed the city's largest, and one of its most violent, street gangs. He approximates 1,000 to 1,200 members currently roam the streets of Long Beach, calling their collective "one of the most detrimental criminal organizations in our city."
If you're looking to join 'em or avoid 'em, here are their target areas, according to the official public-record gang injunction:
Target Area A: Daisy to Locust, Pacific Coast Highway to Anaheim.
Target Area B: Martin Luther King to Junipero, Pacific Coast Highway to 10th Street and Atlantic to Junipero, 10th Street to 4th Street.
The spokesman says that, in addition to homicide, many Longo members have also been charged with drug dealing in the past.
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"You could say that they are considered a Sereño street gang," he says. "They have an allegiance to the Mexican mafia. ... and when they go to prison, they run with the Sereños."
A clip from yesterday's raid release:
Long Beach Police Gang Enforcement detectives have been investigating a series of shootings that occurred since December 2010. During the course of these investigations, detectives developed information that the shootings were related by suspects or by the weapons involved in the crimes. They soon focused the investigation on the East Side Longos gang, one of the oldest Hispanic gangs in Long Beach who claim territory in a particular area of central Long Beach. Members of this gang are believed to be responsible for six shootings in this geographical area, including the recent attempted murder of the two Gang Enforcement detectives.
Originally posted at 9:15 a.m.