File this one under things that would never happen on The Wire: The U.S. attorney for Maryland yesterday announced the indictment of 42 suspected gang members and their associates on federal racketeering and drug trafficking charges.
A federal grand jury in Baltimore indicted 23 alleged members of a local Bloods chapter, who prosecutors believe operated a violent organized crime web in Maryland, while paying a cut of their earnings to leaders of the gang in California. Nineteen more suspects were brought up on counts of drug trafficking.
The indictments were unsealed on May 28 after hundreds of state and local law enforcement officials began arresting suspects and executing search warrants, according to a Justice Department release. The U.S Attorney’s Office conducted the investigation in cooperation with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Baltimore Police Department, and the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office.
“Today’s coast-to-coast operation dismantled several gang sets whose members promoted violence to secure the sanctity of their organization in Baltimore -- while being directed by Bloods leadership in California,” said ATF Acting Assistant Director Mark Chait in the statement.
Twelve of the defendants already were in custody before yesterday morning’s roundup. The 23 alleged gang members could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of racketeering; the 34 charged with drug trafficking could face a life sentence.