A tremendous win in the war against gang violence in the Las Vegas valley.
More than two dozen violent gang members are now off the streets of Las Vegas after an investigation by local law enforcement.
Metro Police and the Clark County District Attorney say the crimes committed by these gang members include murder and assault.
Metro Police started this extensive investigation into the 18th Street gang back in March. They say the 29 people they have arrested since then are among the most violent offenders of that gang.
But with gang violence still a major issue across the valley, the question is, how much safer is the community?
“We want the public to know the criminal activity of these groups is one of the top priorities in law enforcement,” said Captain John Leon, LVMPD Gang Vice Bureau.
The list of their crimes is long, and their presence was felt in all corners of the community.
“Homicide, robbery, battery with a deadly weapon,” Leon said. “Those arrestees were responsible for approximately 50-plus valley-wide events over an approximate 18-month period.”
Metro Police say they focused on taking apart the gang’s structure, by arresting the main leader and key associates. They also seized 20 guns and drugs, such as meth, cocaine and heroin.
“What we’ve done is we’ve targeted the most violent offenders and the most active offenders,” said Lt. Reggie Rader, LVMPD Gang Unit. “There are 18th Street members that were not arrested, however they are not doing a lot of crime right now.”
Over the past several weeks, the valley has seen a rise in gang violence. But is this one gang take down really enough to change things?
Clark County District Attorneyr Steve Wolfson says, yes, it is.
“If you look at pure numbers, one might say no it’s not that significant when you look at 29 people that have been indicted or arrested compared to 12,000 gang members, but these are 29 significant people.”
Wolfson also says this kind of sting operation sends a clear message to all gangs.
“If you’re going to terrorize communities, if you’re going to be participating in gangs and engaging in drug trafficking with guns, we’re going to target you.”
Metro Police say they are not closing this particular investigation into the 18th Street gang yet, even though most of the leadership has been arrested. Some of those criminal cases are being prosecuted by the state system and others by the federal system.