OAKLAND (CBS SF) — A federal grand jury in Oakland recently indicted 40 reputed members and associates of the Burn Out Family Mafia gang for drug trafficking, identity theft and firearm possession charges, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag announced Friday.
The indictments and arrests stem from an 18-month-long investigation conducted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Secret Service and Oakland Police Department.
According to one indictment, 31 defendants are alleged to have engaged in the daily sales of heroin and cocaine on three corners in East Oakland controlled by the Burn Out Family Mafia gang.
A second indictment charges four defendants with various identity-theft related crimes. Five other defendants have been charged with firearms possession in separate indictments.
Haag said in a statement, “Illegal open-air drug markets operating on our street corners in East Oakland beget violence and other criminal activity.”
She said, “By shutting down the open-air drug markets run by the Burn Out Family Mafia – particularly the three markets targeted by this investigation, which operated within feet of Oakland schools – we hope to contribute to the reduction of violence in East Oakland.”
Haag said, “These indictments demonstrate that criminal street gangs are branching out beyond traditional drug-trafficking operations to other illegal enterprises such as identity theft.”
Authorities announced two weeks ago that the investigation also resulted in the arrest of four reputed Burn Out Family gang members on charges of conspiracy to commit murder and premeditated attempted murder for allegedly attempting to kill a member of a rival East Oakland gang.
Those four suspects are scheduled to enter pleas in Alameda County Superior Court on Monday.
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