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900 agents raid California gang suspected in officers' deaths


June 21, 2005
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900 agents raid California gang suspected in officers' deaths

BURBANK, Calif.- Nine hundred federal and local law enforcement agents joined forces Tuesday for a raid on a gang suspected in the shooting deaths of two police officers, authorities said.

The overnight raid targeted 42 members of the Vineland Boys gang. The operation had netted 19 arrests early Tuesday, and officers were still serving warrants on the San Fernando Valley gang, Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton said.

The gang was suspected in the deaths of Los Angeles Police Officer James Beyea, who was shot during a burglary in 1988, and Burbank Police Officer Matthew Pavelka, who died when two men who were being questioned opened fire in 2003.

"We intended to make this gang the poster boy of gangs _ poster boy in the sense that if you want to be a gangbanger, we are more than happy to put the resources into locking you up and putting you away for the rest of life," Bratton said. "That's what's going to happen to a lot of these characters."

Officials says the gang is involved in murder, attempted murder, extortion and drug trafficking.

"The Vineland Boys have terrorized people in the Sun Valley, North Hollywood, Burbank and surrounding areas for many, many years," Burbank police Chief Thomas Hoefel said.

Pavelka was the first law enforcement official slain in the 82-year history of the Burbank Police Department. A second officer was critically wounded. A suspect, 21-year-old David Garcia, was arrested in Mexico in 2003 and returned to California to face murder and other charges.




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