When California Department of Justice (DOJ) special agents were called upon to help rid the city of Oakland of gang violence, they did not disappoint. They worked for months to track down, keep tabs on and ultimately arrest dozens of suspected gang members accused of crimes ranging from pimping to attempted murder.
The special agents, along with local and federal law enforcement officers targeted two violent gangs. Oakland's police chief described one of the gangs as the most violent he has seen in 25 years.
"The job DOJ special agents do is nothing short of remarkable," said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. "Given the nature of their jobs, it's not often their work is spotlighted as it was at a press conference in Oakland, last week. This is well deserved recognition after spending long days and long nights for months in dangerous environments to clean up communities victimized by these two violent gangs."
Much of the work culminated in a large operation, Friday, March 8, 2013 when local, state and federal officers from 15 different agencies conducted a Bay Area-wide sweep in which arrest warrants were served and as many as 18 people were arrested.
Prior to Friday's sweep, special agents put suspected gang members in their cross hairs, watching their activity and in some cases, their every move. Their work resulted in 23 arrests and the seizure of 55 firearms.
The special agents were assigned to Oakland late last year. According to Attorney General Kamala Harris, they investigated the two gangs, cracked down on ex-felons who are banned from possessing guns and put a stop to a rash of home-invasion robberies.
The suspects arrested in Friday's sweep are charged with numerous crimes, including attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer, conspiracy to commit murder, robbery, illegal gun possession, pimping and prostitution.
"I can only imagine the praise the citizens of Oakland must have for all the special agents and officers who focused on this violent bunch and ultimately locked them up." said Barcelona. "Their work sent a clear, loud message."
From Oakland Police Department Press Release:
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris stated, “The people of Oakland deserve a safe place to live, work and worship, and to be free of the gun and gang violence that has been plaguing the City. That’s why, for more than four months, the Department of Justice has worked shoulder to shoulder with the Oakland Police Department to reduce violent crime in Oakland and address the city’s gang epidemic. I am especially proud of the fine work of the DOJ special agents who played a vital role in today’s arrests by lending their skills and expertise to this operation.” View Press Release and Oakland PD Video