Criminal Justice

Homes Targeted for Gang Activity

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The owners of Los Angeles properties that served as a base for gang activities may be in for a rude awakening.

Prosecutors are seeking to seize five properties and to force the owners of five others to clean up and control their buildings, the Los Angeles Times reports. The suits target eight homes and two motels where drugs were sold or stashed, the New York Times reports.

The New York Times calls asset forfeiture and nuisance suits “the latest prosecutorial strategy in the city’s antigang efforts.”

The suits were filed following a gang sweep early yesterday that resulted in 43 arrests in an area of Los Angeles known as Ghost Town. The arrests capped a five-month investigation of the Blood gang called East Side Pain. Federal and local authorities cooperated in the probe.

“It’s kind of a new era in the way policing is done,” said John Torres, the agent in charge of Los Angeles for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

One homeowner told the Los Angeles Times he’s being unfairly targeted. Musician Gary Sprewell said his home has been in the family since 1959, and it’s not used to sell drugs.

“I’ve never messed with anything. Clean as a whistle,” he said. “What they’re doing is wrong. It’s underhanded.”

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