Looks like King Kong ain't got shit on law enforcement for real this time as cops went gangbusters, literally, in notorious Baldwin Village, known as "the Jungle" and the geographic star of the film Training Day.
In fact, feds and the LAPD got in on the act this morning as more than 50 Baldwin Village gang members accused of drug trafficking were arrested, according to an FBI statement. Authorities say they are from the Black P Stone set, which runs those curvilinear streets.
More than 900 officers were involved, the FBI says, and it was the second raid on the Baldwin Village gang in the last six years. The operation was so big that cops used the L.A. Sports Arena parking lot as staging grounds.
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Fifteen of 21 people indicted on federal drug trafficking charges were taken in the raid, according to the FBI. A couple are in custody and three are outstanding, said Thom Mrozek of the U.S. Attorney's Office in L.A.
Seventy-five gang members in all were targeted. Feds say most of the allegations involve meth and crack.
Authorities say the grabbed 135.5 grams of PCP, 41.2 grams of methamphetamine, 25 kilos of marijuana and 1.7 kilos of coke.
Assistant FBI-L.A. director Steven Martinez:
The strategy involved dismantling the gang's infrastructure by arresting the main players and by removing the businesses where gangs launch their criminal activity.
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The L.A. City Attorney's office got in on the act and is "pursuing civil actions to include property abatement, evictions and case conferences for fifteen of the gang‟s controlled businesses and residences," according to the FBI statement.
U.S. Housing and Urban Development will also kick gang-affiliated residents out of subsidized housing, according to the FBI.
Will it work? Don't know. The gang has controlled those streets for decades and obviously made a comeback after a 2006 crackdown dubbed "Operation Stone Cold." This one was called "Operation Red Dawn."
Shiara Davila-Morales, of the District Attorney's office added that "23 gang members arrested on state warrants, and five others arrested on non-warrant charges" such as parole and probation violations.
Most of the suspects could face five to 40 years.
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The Jungle is a trip. It's one of those only-in-L.A. neighborhoods that looks almost idyllic, with a tarp of trees (which give it's nickname), wall-to-wall '40s and '50s-era courtyard apartment buildings, and bending streets with names like Nicolet Avenue. It's a valley nestled below the tony Baldwin Hills, with few ways in and out.
It has, in the past, been a deadly place, and Training Day's depiction, while exaggerated, seemed to give some life to the reality of the village.
In 2006 someone targeting her father shot and killed 3-year-old Kaitlyn Avila, opening the world's eyes once again to the Jungle.