(NewsNation) — At least seven alleged gang members were arrested following an investigation by the FBI and Los Angeles Police Department that also netted the seizure of guns and drugs.
The agencies announced the results of the probe, dubbed “Operation Wipe Out,” in a news conference Wednesday in San Pedro, NewsNation affiliate KTLA-TV reported. Investigators targeted the sale of illegal firearms and drugs in LA’s Harbor area.
In a series of pre-dawn raids, agents arrested seven people on federal charges and seized roughly 23,000 fentanyl pills, 26 kilograms of methamphetamine and approximately 23 illegal firearms, officials said.
“Today’s arrests signal the end of an investigation that started in late 2020 and focused on some of the most dangerous gang members in the Harbor area,” said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The investigation initially focused on the Westside Wilmas gang but eventually expanded into the upper echelons of the Mexican Mafia, LAPD said in a statement.
The FBI’s Los Angeles field office said it arrested a total of 12 people in connection to the investigation. Those arrested are believed to be connected to Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel, which Mrozek said is flooding California with fentanyl.
“It’s unbelievable how many people may have died as a result of these drugs once they hit the street,” he said. “A substantial portion of the fentanyl that is in distribution in the United States is attributed to the Sinaloa Cartel and one other cartel in Mexico, but Sinaloa tends to traffic more to the California area.”
Three suspects are still wanted in connection to the investigation: Fernando Nava, Iliana Zepeda and Ramon Gonzalez.
NewsNation affiliate KTLA-TV contributed to this report.