In cooperation with local police, U.S. federal agents have intensified an anti-gang campaign in Los Angeles, arresting 19 gang members in a latest sweep, police said on Wednesday.
In the operation, dubbed "Operation Oakwood," hundreds of federal agents and police officers descended on a neighborhood in force, serving dozens of warrants and jailing 19 alleged gang members of Shoreline Crips, which had taken over Oakwood recreation center for drug deals, police said.
According to authorities, the gang exerted a brazen influence over the facility, turning outsiders away and using it as an outpost for drug sales -- particularly within the last several years.
Tuesday's operation was the largest gang sweep in Los Angeles' Westwood area in years, said Kenneth Garner, Deputy Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).
The raid was the culmination of a four-month investigation into the gang's activities, said Garner, adding that the arrests were the first part of a new campaign to hobble the Shoreline Crips, whose criminal activities have spilled into neighboring cities, including Santa Monica and Culver City.
Police are seeking 33 other suspects.
The crackdown came as the influence of the Shoreline Crips and other local gangs was waning. Police and prosecutors said that after the crackdown the gang's influence in the neighborhood was about to end.