Nearly 100 People Charged in Organized Crime Sting: Report

According to a report, "Operation Power Outage" involved 1,000 officers

By Julie Jessup
|  Wednesday, Feb 16, 2011  |  Updated 4:25 PM PDT
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Officials say Armenian Power is a gang concentrated in Glendale and East Hollywood.

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A massive operation lead by federal law enforcement has culminated in the arrests of dozens of people allegedly related to organized crime, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The Wednesday morning sting involved federal and local law enforcement and targeted members of Armenian organized crime, specifically members of the gang "Armenian Power," which is prominent in Glendale and East Hollywood.

Officials said that nearly 100 individuals had been arrested and charged with crimes including racketeering, extortion, kidnapping, drug-related offenses and white-collar fraud. All together, Armenian Power is believed to have stolen more than $20 million.

"These types of criminal organizations through the use of extortion, kidnappings and other violent acts have demonstrated a willingness to prey upon members of their own community," said U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr.

Officials say they are continuing to search for some suspects, but many of the arrests were made without incident.

Law enforcement agencies that worked on Operation Power Outage include the FBI, the Secret Service, LA County sheriffs and local Burbank, Glendale, and Los Angeles police departments.

"While some organized crime groups have been largely suppressed, others, like [Armenian Power], have managed to grow from a street gang into an international organized crime group," said FBI Agent Steven Martinez.

According to the LA Times, law enforcement described Armenian power as a group that "combines ruthlessness with opportunism, focusing on white-collar crime."

"The indictments that target the Armenian Power organized crime enterprise provide a window into a group that appears willing to do anything and everything illegal to make a profit," Birotte said.

According to the racketeering indictment, Armenian Power works with the Mexican Mafia, a prison-based gang believed to control much of what Hispanic street gangs do. Members of Armenian Pride also keep up ties with criminal operations in Armenia, Russia and other former Soviet states.

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