OAKLAND (CBS SF) – A massive raid in which about 300 law enforcement officers targeted a gang operating out of the Acorn housing project in West Oakland resulted in the arrest of five suspects on gun and drug charges, Oakland police Chief Howard Jordan said Thursday.
The arrest of four adults and one juvenile occurred in Oakland, Antioch, Hayward and San Leandro Wednesday night and early on Thursday, Jordan said.
He said police also seized four firearms and a large amount of narcotics, including crack cocaine, marijuana and heroin.
The arrests stemmed from a longstanding joint investigation by the Oakland Police Department and the FBI, Jordan said.
Oakland police Lt. Tony Jones said 150 FBI agents, 120 Oakland police officers and several dozen officers from San Leandro, Hayward and Antioch served 16 narcotics and weapons warrants.
Jones said officers were hoping to arrest more suspects and seize more military-style weapons but some of the people they were looking for at the Acorn complex, which is between Seventh and 10th streets near Adeline Street, saw officers coming and were able to get away.
“They could see us coming and it was difficult for us to get upstairs to get everyone we wanted,” Jones said.
He vowed, however, that the investigation will continue and “more arrests are coming.”
Jones said the raid targeted the Acorn gang, which he said is a long-standing group that has been involved in many shootings and other acts of violence, both in West Oakland near its turf and across town in East Oakland.
Jones said authorities want to get the gang under control because people who live in and near the Acorn project “are afraid to go outside and walk in their neighborhood.”
The Acorn gang has been the target of other law enforcement actions in the past, including a massive raid called “Operation Nutcrackers” that was carried out on June 17, 2008, by 400 officers from 17 different law enforcement agencies at 34 locations and resulted in the arrest of 54 suspects.
Oakland police Capt. Ersie Joyner said at that time that it would be “very difficult, if not impossible, for the gang to regain its former power in the wake of the raid.
Jones admitted Thursday that it’s been “a challenge” to keep the Acorn gang under control over the years but he added, “We have to be vigilant and stay on top of gangs.”
Jones said the Acorn gang “hasn’t always been a problem” and there have been periods when there haven’t been many shootings in the area surrounding the housing project.
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