A supposed major Los Angeles drug robbery a decade ago by the African American gang the East Coast Crips of the Latino rival Florencia 13 prompted a long-running feud over control of the drug trade that many residents call a race war, the Los Angeles Times reports. It used to be that innocent bystanders were not targeted, said Chris Le Grande, pastor of Great Hope Fellowship in Faith, a large black church. “Now it’s deliberate. ‘I’m deliberately shooting you because of your color.’ ”
On Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney’s office announced a sweeping indictment against more than 60 members of Florencia 13, accusing the Latino gang of a violent campaign to drive out African American rivals. The Florence-Firestone neighborhood saw 41 homicides in 2005, surpassing the homicide rate in some of the nation’s most dangerous big cities. About half of those killed had no gang affiliation. Homicides dropped to 19 last year after a law enforcement crackdown that led to 230 felony arrests and the seizure of 130 weapons. The level of violence remains high.