Thursday’s gang bust in Hawaiian Gardens involving 1400 local, state and federal agents resulted in 147 arrests for alleged racially-motivated crimes against African Americans. The L.A. Times is reporting that Operation Knock Out targeted associates of the Varrio Hawaiian Gardens gang (VHG) who were so pervasive in that community that one in 15 people living in the square-mile city just north of Long Beach has ties to it.
In its 193-page indictment outlining the racketeering case, federal authorities accuse the south Los Angeles County street gang of a litany of crimes, including the murder of a sheriff’s deputy and racially motivated attacks designed to drive African Americans from their town. The indictments included charges for murder, attempted murder, drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, extortion, kidnapping and witness intimidation. The gang members, allegedly boasted about being racist, referring to themselves as “the Hate Gang.” The document also details more than a dozen incidents where African Americans were allegedly beaten, shot at or harassed because of their race.
Authorities say that the gang was formed in the 1950s or early ’60s and has more than 1,000 members today–spanning several generations, with many connections to the Mexican Mafia.
In cases as large as this, it is expected that many of the smaller gang players will flip –or decide to testify for the prosecution–in order to implicate larger players and score a better plea bargain for themselves.
Comments about this post can be directed to Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney William Weinberg at (949) 474-8008.