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Suspects Arrested In Oakland Gang Sweep Appear In Court

OAKLAND (CBS SF) -- Alleged members and associates of an Oakland gang that Police Chief Howard Jordan said is probably the most violent group of young people he's seen were arraigned earlier this week on a variety of charges, including conspiracy to commit murder.

Most of the 17 people affiliated with the Case Boys Gang who have been charged by the Alameda County District Attorney's Office were arrested in a large multi-agency sweep in Oakland and surrounding cities last Friday, although several remain at large.

Oakland police didn't return phone calls Thursday seeking information on how many suspects are still at large.

In addition to conspiracy to commit murder, the charges against the reputed members of the Case Boys Gang include conspiracy to commit robbery, assault on a police officer, assault with a firearm, shooting at an inhabited dwelling, fraud, pimping and pandering.

Oakland police Sgt. Chris Bolton said many of the suspects also face enhancement allegations that they committed crimes to benefit a street gang, which could add significant time to their sentences if they're convicted.

Jordan said on Friday that the raid stemmed from a lengthy investigation into crimes allegedly committed by members of the Case Boys Gang as well as by members of the rival Money Team Gang.

Some of the charges involve alleged plots by Case Boys Gang members to murder Money Team Gang members.

Oakland police Officer Anthony Tedesco, the lead investigator in the probe, said in a probable cause statement filed in court that reputed Case Boys Gang members Lorenzo Richardson, Darren Morris, Zayonta Casmire, Deyonne White and several others planned to kill a rival gang member on Feb. 9 but the intended target was not where they thought he would be.

Tedesco said officers followed the suspects, conducted surveillance and took steps to remove the intended victim from the area if necessary.

Tedesco also said reputed Case Boys members Cleveland Pratt, Morris, Daniel Cortez, and Bertran Keeton were involved in a separate failed attempt to kill a gang rival on Feb. 25.

Among the other charges are allegations that reputed Case Boys members planned to commit robberies in different parts of Oakland on Feb. 7, Feb. 20 and March 3 and for a Feb. 6 incident in which alleged gang member Laquan Lubin is accused of ramming a patrol car containing two officers who were trying to arrest him on a warrant.

Jordan said the crime sweep was part of Operation Ceasefire, a multi-disciplinary approach to fighting violence that his department launched last October.

The program involves having police, probation and parole officers work with community members such as pastors and crime victims to try to persuade members of gangs and other violent groups to try to stop engaging in violence and lead more productive lives.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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