In the pre-dawn hours of Thursday, May 19, hundreds of law enforcement officers in heavy armor descended on the tiny Baldwin Village neighborhood in southwest Los Angeles. The officers, drawn from the Los Angeles Police Department and the FBI, arrested at least 35 people suspected of drug trafficking for the Black P Stones gang.

Those arrested were hauled off for processing at the L.A. Memorial Sports Arena, which the officers had used as a staging point for the early morning roundup. The Times offered no information about the suspected gang members, except that all were facing drug charges and that federal indictments had been obtained against some of those arrested.

LAPD targeting Baldwin Village, four other neighborhoods for additional law enforcement scrutiny

According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, the early morning raids represent an increasingly aggressive law enforcement strategy aimed at combating crime in LA’s most troubled neighborhoods.

The raids resulted from a year-long, multi-agency investigation into drug trafficking in the one-square-mile neighborhood, the Times reported. The LAPD estimates that Baldwin Village harbors 700 gang members, many of them allegedly associated with the Black P Stones gang. The police and FBI characterize the Black P Stones as having controlled the drug scene in the area for decades.

Six years ago the LAPD and federal officers staged a similar gang roundup, arresting 28 people alleged to have been among the leadership Black P Stones, although the Times did not report how many of those arrests resulted in convictions. The raid six years ago apparently did not significantly disrupt the alleged drug trafficking operations by the gang.

The Times characterized Baldwin Village as “an island of heavy gang activity” among the middle- and upper-class neighborhoods at the foot of Baldwin Hills. The Black P Stones ostensibly reside in apartment buildings south of Coliseum Street between La Brea Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard. Because of the area’s tropical foliage, the neighborhood has been nicknamed “the Jungle.” Portions of the film “Training Day” were shot on location in the area.

From a local law enforcement perspective, the LAPD and the city attorney’s office have targeted Baldwin Village and four other neighborhoods for increased enforcement of “nuisance” crimes such as trespassing, in an effort to deter more serious criminal activity. Additional officers have also been assigned to the five neighborhoods.

The Times gave no details about the supposed drug trafficking activity in the area, or why the 35 people who were rounded up were under suspicion. Without further information, it is impossible to guess whether those arrested were members of any gang or involved in any illegal activity.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Baldwin Village drug trafficking gang targeted in raid led by federal, local authorities,” Richard Winton, May 19, 2011