LOS ANGELES—Members of a violent street gang were arrested Tuesday, November 8 in the Wilmington region.
A total of 17 members and associates that have a connection to the Mexican Mafia were detained by law enforcement. The arrests were part of a larger investigation focused on the Wilmas Street Gang known as Operation “Tidal Wave.”
The gang members are accused of committing acts of murder, attempted murder, narcotics trafficking, robbery, and witness intimidation. The gang is known to have close ties with the Mexican Mafia and has trafficked firearms for the organization. The suspects have a series of armed attacks on law enforcement officers dating back to 2008.
Ten of those arrested were already in custody for unrelated matters. One suspect remains at large. The investigation has been ongoing since 2012. The LAPD worked alongside the DEA and U.S. Marshals in apprehending the suspects.
“This federal indictment seeks to dismantle the leadership of the Wilmas street gang, a particularly violent street gang that regularly targets members of the community and law enforcement officers for murder,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “The devastating impact this gang has had on the community cannot be overstated, but today’s takedown will help to restore order across Wilmington and ensure that those responsible for the violence and other criminal acts will be taken off the streets for years.”
During this takedown, the police seized eight pounds of methamphetamine and 10 firearms, including one linked to a shooting. The indictment connects the members to the 2012 murders of Carolina Ramirez and Meldrick Melgoza Alvarez.
“The Wilmas gang is also a racist organization and has been historically antagonistic to the presence of African-Americans in Wilmas gang territory,” the indictment alleges. “Wilmas gang members have frequently targeted African-Americans who enter or attempt to reside within the area claimed by the Wilmas gang.”
If convicted, the suspects could face life sentences, and most face mandatory minimum sentences of 10 years in federal prison.
Written By Jada Montemarano and Casey Jacobs