LOS ANGELES, May 20 (UPI) -- Police say a south Los Angeles gang operated a cell phone store that sold crack cocaine and other drugs along with BlackBerries and other electronics.
Police busted the alleged drug operation Thursday following a yearlong investigation, arresting 17 federal suspects and 28 others on local charges related to drug dealing and illegal weapons, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.
Hundreds of heavily armed police officers raided the store and among the suspects arrested were members of the Black P Stone Bloods gang.
The federal government is increasingly helping Los Angeles deal with its most troubling gangs, the newspaper said.
"It's the top priority of [the] U.S. attorney to protect the public, and protecting the public in LA.means going after gangs," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Riordan of the Los Angeles office.
He said with mandatory minimum sentences of five years or more, no parole and widely scattered federal prisons are designed to separate gang members and make it difficult for them to run gangs from inside prison.
"These are hardened criminals, not mere gang members or drug dealers," Riordon said.
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