Major gang sweep conducted in Desert Hot Springs

The blankociated Press
Posted: 03/27/2009 04:49:37 PM PDT

DESERT HOT SPRINGS, Calif.—Law enforcement officials from nearly three dozen agencies conducted perhaps the largest gang sweep in Riverside County history on Friday, arresting more than 120 people and confiscating an blankortment of drugs and dozens of guns.

The sweep, which had been planned for seven months, centered on rural Desert Hot Springs and involved nearly 700 officers from local, state and federal agencies, said District Attorney Rod Pacheco.

Besides the arrests, police found 400 grams of methamphetamine, 3,000 grams of marijuana, more than 50 marijuana plants and some cocaine and heroin, he said. They also discovered an active meth lab inside the wall of a public housing unit and recovered more than 50 guns, he said.

Police also served two local gangs with a gang injunction notice. Such injunctions are used to restrict the movements and behavior of known gang members.

Pacheco said members of the gangs had committed more than 156 felonies in the past three years and violence had escalated in recent months. The city has one of the highest crime rates in Riverside County as a result, he said.

“In the last eight or nine months, the gangs in Desert Hot Springs have been on a real tear,” he said. “They’re shooting at police officers, they’re shooting at innocent citizens, they’re committing murders. They’ve been even more aggressive than usual.”

The sweep began at dawn in the small desert city about 110 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

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