DEA Anti-Gang Operation Results in 22 Arrests
JUL 17 -- (LOS ANGELES) – Timothy J. Landrum, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Los Angeles Field Division announced today that on July 9, 2009, the Los Angeles Field Division, Southern California Drug Task Force, HIDTA Group 52 (REDRUM Squad) arrested 22 members of the Toonerville street gang. Sixty-six weapons were also seized in the operation.
Since approximately December 2008, the Southern California Drug Task Force (SCDTF) Group 52, the Los Angeles Police Department and the Glendale Police Department have conducted an investigation focusing on the Toonerville Violent Drug Trafficking Organization (VDTO). The Toonerville street gang was formed in the late 1950’s and is based in the northeast part of Los Angeles and borders the City of Glendale. The Toonerville VDTO is involved in assaults against rival gangs and innocent victims who stray into their territory. The Toonerville VDTO is also involved in the sales of narcotics and robberies.
An example of Toonerville's historical violence and organization was seen in 2000, when three Toonerville gang members went to conduct a retaliatory drive-by shooting, but instead robbed a pedestrian witness. LAPD patrol officers tried to stop the gang members’ car, which led to a high-speed pursuit. The suspects ultimately led the officers into their gang’s neighborhood, where they were ambushed by others gang members who had blocked the street with a washing machine and bicycle. The officers were shot at from three sides in a coordinated attack. The officers survived and all three suspects were convicted of attempt murder. In late 2008, one of its most notorious leaders, Timothy Joseph McGhee, was convicted of three murders and organizing the ambush of the two LAPD officers in 2000. Authorities believe McGhee, once among the U.S. Marshals' most wanted, was responsible for as many as a dozen homicides.
This investigation was initiated after a Mongol motorcycle gang member was murdered in October 2008 by a Toonerville gang member in Glendale, California. The Glendale Police Department investigation revealed that the Toonerville VDTO continued to be extensively involved in sales of cocaine and methamphetamine, as well as other violent crimes.
To date, this investigation has resulted in arrest of 42 individuals and the seizure of approximately 74 weapons. Nine of the 42 individuals arrested will be charged with murder related to four homicides.