THAT DIDN'T TAKE LONG.
It appears the LAPD is making good on its promise to bring down the hammer. Last week Chief Bratton and the Mayor released its list of the top eleven gangs targeted for suppression and a list of Most Wanted fugitives. Yesterday, they put teeth into the initiative by scooping up 110 suspects in the San Fernando Valley and arresting 64 of them on various charges. According to the Daily News, there's a 50-member Task Force roaming the Valley and that's the entity responsible for these arrests.
Careful readers of the gang initiative will realize that the gangs they swooped in on yesterday - notably Blythe and Van Nuys - are NOT on the list of top eleven gangs. So what's the story?
If history is any indicator, the people scooped up yesterday are the easy fish. The point is to get these guys off the street and in front of investigators who will probably press them for information. Out of any population of recently arrested, you will invariably bag a few who are looking at a second or maybe even a third strike. Those are the folks more likely to give up a little information in exchange for certain considerations.
That information of itself isn't all that useful. But what it does is provide enough probable cause for a judge to agree to wiretaps and other forms of surveillance to go after the shot callers and multi-jurisdictional operators. Keep in mind that the Valley Task Force includes Federal agents. The Federales have a lower threshold than local judges for obtaining wiretap orders. Not to mention more money for assigning bodies and using better gear.
The track record for this type of Federal and local cooperation is spectacularly good. Diligent students will recall the three big RICO cases of the mid and late 1990s that started precisely with this scenario. Sweeps of the low hanging fruit that yielded intel followed by surveillance and ultimately followed by Federal indictments.
Just to round things out, another sweep took place further east in Chino Hills, Fontana, Bassett, West Valinda, Pomona and West Covina. The sweep netted six arrestees, dope, guns and over $30K in cash. Coincidence? You be the judge.