By Caitlin Esch, Rachael Marcus and AP
Local and federal law enforcement officials arrested 18 people Friday in a crackdown on the notorious Case Gang in East Oakland, which officials believe is responsible for many of the violent crimes plaguing the city.
The series of raids, which began around 5 a.m. Friday, was orchestrated by the Oakland Police Department and more than 160 federal agents from the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and other agencies. They targeted more than a dozen locations associated with alleged members of the gang.
“[These are] probably the most violent young group of people that I’ve ever seen in my 25 years,” said Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan. “And I say that because the motive really wasn’t your traditional motive. It wasn’t for money; it wasn’t for turf. It was basically, they hated the other gang.”
A feud between the Case Gang and a larger group known as the Money Team has escalated in the past several months. The war has resulted in many violent crimes, including several murders earlier this year.
Oakland Deputy Police Chief Eric Breshears said that several firearms, including an assault rifle, were also seized during the multiagency raids that are part of Oakland police’s ongoing Operation Ceasefire anti-crime initiative.
Police warned gang members last October of the impending crackdown on gun violence, the San Francisco Chronicle reported:
“As part of the Operation Ceasefire program, police and community groups sat down members of the two gangs and a dozen other gangs, offering them education and job training but warning strict consequences if they did not put down their guns.
“Today we kept our promise,” said Jordan.
He said the Operation Ceasefire targets were told at the October ‘call-in’ that whoever started shooting first after the meeting would become the focus of an aggressive campaign. The Case gang and their rivals, the Money Team, “self-selected,” Jordan said. “They started shooting at each other in 10 days.”
Police said they expect to arrest more suspects in the coming hours.
In a lead-up to the sweep earlier this month, police arrested 33 suspected gang members and confiscated 26 firearms.