L.A. gang shipped cocaine across nation, FBI says

January 09, 1992|By Los Angeles Dailey News

LOS ANGELES -- Authorities say they have broken up a drug trafficking ring operated by Los Angeles-area street gang members that annually moved 5 tons of Colombian cocaine to cities nationwide.

Six search warrants were served yesterday as part of a two-year FBI investigation of the ring that authorities believe cooperated with Colombian drug lords for a decade, said Charlie Parsons, agent-in-charge of the FBI's Los Angeles office.

Parsons said that the ring generated $250,000 in profits each month -- roughly $3 million a year -- by flying cocaine it obtained from the Medellin cartel in Colombia to Mexico, where it was transported overland to Los Angeles and converted to crack cocaine. The cocaine was distributed to Detroit, Anchorage, Dallas, Houston, Seattle and Honolulu, Parsons said.

"That is a very substantial amount of narcotics to go out on the streets, and it's all going to street gang members," he said. "It used to be more difficult for these [gangs] to obtain cocaine, now they have their own Colombian connections."

Four people had been charged by yesterday in connection with the case, prosecutors said. The FBI and police said the breakup of the ring could lead to a drop in drug and gang-related violence in Los Angeles County, where gangs were responsible for about 700 killings in 1991 -- almost one third of all murders tallied.

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