"Operation Halo" Targets Eastside Anaheim Gang

The raids centered around a neighborhood that became a flashpoint for protests after a fatal police shooting

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    Police display numerous weapons that were seized in raids across Orange County on Thursday, Aug. 10, 2012 in a crackdown dubbed "Operation Halo," targeting an Anaheim gang.

    Some 44 people were arrested in raids targeting an Anaheim gang responsible for at least a year-long string of crimes ranging from drug trafficking to homicide, federal officials said on Friday.

    In the crackdown, dubbed “Operation Halo,” more than 100 federal, state and local officers fanned out to 54 locations across Orange County, capping a yearlong investigation of a gang known as East Side Anaheim.

    In the raids, authorities also seized 11 pounds of crystal methamphetamine and 40 guns, including sawed-off shotguns and a pistol believed used in a killing.

    Anaheim Resident: Activist Groups "Taking Advantage of Tragedy"

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    Gloria Alvarado says activists groups that have set up vigils and are calling for more protests against fatal Anaheim police shootings are taking advantage of a tragedy “to get their 15 minutes of fame.” One such group – By Any Means Necessary – has held prayers near the site of Manuel Diaz’s death for days, and neighbors say they have asked them repeatedly to leave. Diaz’s death was one of two fatal police shootings in the city that sparked weeks of protests. Vikki Vargas reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on August 1, 2012.

    The raids focused on Anna Drive, the neighborhood where a reputed gang member was shot by police last month. That shooting -- and a second one the next day -- sparked a series of protests, clashes with Anaheim police and calls for city reform.

    The raids come as the city of Anaheim is witnessing a spike in crime as other california cities and the country are seeing a drop. It also comes as Anaheim police have seen a spike in the number of officer-involved shootings.

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    [LA] Anaheim Residents Call for a New Police Chief
    Anaheim residents had a chance Thursday to sound off on recent officer involved shootings and protests. Among the crowd were mothers who have lost their children to officer-involved shootings. More than 50 people gathered to voice their concerns and offer some ideas on how to better the Anaheim community. Vikki Vargas reports from Anaheim for the NBC4 news at 5 p.m. on August 2, 2012.

    Police Chief John Welter says the raids weren't connected to the shootings. He says authorities even considered delaying the raids to avoid that appearance.

    Full Coverage: Anaheim Shootings

    The investigation included the use of informants and undercover officers who bought 38 firearms and a pound of methamphetamine. The guns recovered included “sawed-off” shotguns, assault-style weapons, semi-automatic pistols and an explosive device.

    “ATF and its federal and local partners are dedicated to pursuing and combating those career criminals whose violent criminal activities threaten and severely detract from the welfare of our communities,” Steven J. Bogdalek, special agent in charge of the ATF’s Los Angeles office said in a statement.

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