10 Pacoima gang members arrested on weapons, drug charges

June 30, 2011 | 6:00pm

Ten members and associates of two Pacoima-area gangs with reputed ties to the Mexican Mafia were arrested Thursday by an FBI and LAPD task force on suspicion of being part of a narcotics distribution network and the illegal sale of firearms.

The task force targeted members of the Project Boys and Pacoima Flats gangs, which recently merged into one criminal enterprise.

In addition to the 10 people captured in the morning raids, an additional eight have been charged by federal prosecutors. Four of those are still being sought by the task force.

"The FBI remains committed to working with LAPD to identify the most violent criminal enterprises ... who control neighborhoods by operating drug networks, extorting citizens and committing violent acts to maintain that control," said Steve Martinez, the FBI assistant director in charge.

While serving nine search warrants Thursday, investigators seized $10,000 in cash, three handguns, two shotguns, one M1 rifle, two assault rifles, bags of methamphetamine and drug-related items. The gang allegedly modified weapons to be fully automatic, authorities said.

FBI officials said it was second phase of the task force's investigation aimed at the two gangs, believed to be associated with the Mexican Mafia. Previously, 24 gang members were charged in federal indictments.

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