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Harbor area crackdown on cartel-affiliated street gangs leads to dozens of arrests

More than 25 suspects have been arrested, 30 weapons seized and quantities of fentanyl, methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and PCP confiscated during a three-month investigation of alleged Mexican Mafia and cartel-affiliated street gangs in the Harbor area of Los Angeles County, officials announced Monday.

Those arrested as a result of the multi-agency effort -- dubbed "Operation Safe Harbor" -- have been referred to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office for potential filing of felony charges, including transportation of controlled substance, possession of controlled substance for sale, conspiracy to commit crime and felon in possession of a firearm, according to California Attorney General Rob Bonta.

"Today, we are sending a strong message that organized criminal enterprises cannot stand up to the power of good law enforcement work," Bonta said in a statement.

"Today, we've taken dangerous drugs and weapons off our streets and protected the people of Los Angeles from the ongoing threats that this group caused. I thank our DOJ agents and law enforcement partners for the hours of work they have put into this case and for their work to make California safer. Tonight, Los Angeles families can live and sleep with greater peace of mind as a result of this investigation."

At the conclusion of the investigation which began on June 1, agents carried out a large-scale operation on Thursday, serving seven search warrants, making 10 felony arrests, recovering 14 firearms, including two ghost guns and one short-barreled rifle, seizing $4,000, and intercepting various amounts of narcotics, Bonta said.

In addition, two stolen vehicles were recovered. Additionally, the investigation uncovered other arms of the criminal enterprise, resulting in additional arrests and investigations in communities throughout California.

As a result of the overall investigation, in total, 27 arrests were made, 30 firearms seized, and illegal narcotics seized including 72,115 fentanyl pills, 1.7 pounds of fentanyl powder, 143 pounds of methamphetamine, 4.7 pounds of heroin, 1.9 pounds of cocaine, 1.7 of pounds PCP, and $36,800.

"I'm thankful for the collaborative efforts of our federal and state partners in keeping guns and drugs off of our streets," said Michel Moore, chief of the Los Angeles Police Department. "Through these partnerships, we are best able to serve the people of Los Angeles and beyond. We will not stop looking for those who are selling these deadly products."

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