Hundreds of police officers carried out extensive predawn raids against a Los Angeles gang yesterday. Twenty-three people were arrested on charges of conspiracy, drug trafficking and murder, reports the New York Times. The case involves the Vineland Boys, a gang founded in the late 1980’s in the San Fernando Valley. The raids involved about 1,300 federal and local police officers and nine helicopters, making it one of the largest law enforcement efforts in the Los Angeles area in years.
“Today the good guys won; today the bad guys lost, big time” said Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton. The raids were part of an investigation called Silent Night. Law enforcement agencies began focusing on the Vineland Boys in late 2003, after a member was suspected of killing a Burbank police officer. The Vineland Boys was described as a well-organized enterprise with ties to other gangs; it agreed to pay “taxes” on its drug trafficking to the Mexican Mafia, another criminal gang.