About a dozen people were arrested Friday July 18, in a multi- agency crackdown on a South Los Angeles street gang that authorities said controls a neighborhood and drug sales in the Jefferson Park area. The 13 suspects arrested were among more than 125 defendants facing federal or state weapons and narcotics charges in Operation Thumbs Down, a years-long investigation targeting members and associates of the Rollin' 30s Harlem Crips, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Along with those arrested four defendants named in a federal indictment were in custody on unrelated charges and six more are considered fugitives, authorities said.
In addition, a nuisance lawsuit was filed against several allegedly gang- controlled properties in the area, including a strip mall, an unlicensed barber shop, and a residential duplex. City Attorney Mike Feuer contends the locations, situated near churches and schools, were being used for gang activity, as well as drug and gun sales. Crime statistics indicate there have been at least 29 homicides in recent years in the gang's territory, which incorporates the neighborhood between Jefferson Boulevard, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Normandie Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard, officials said.
In addition, more than 1,100 robberies and more than 1,000 aggravated assaults have been reported in the 1.5 square mile area that comprises the gang's claimed territory. Burglary crews associated with the Rollin' 30s Harlem Crips also are suspected of committing a series of so-called knock-knock robberies, in which houses whose owners appear to be away are targeted, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. The investigation was called Thumbs Down by the task force in reference to hand gestures used by the gang, including two thumbs pointed upward, representing the ``H'' in the word ``Harlem,'' officials said.