LOS ANGELES – Capping a two-year investigation that saw the seizure of well over a kilogram of crack cocaine, federal, state and local law enforcement officers this morning arrested four members and associates of the Watts-based Bounty Hunter Bloods street gang on federal narcotics charges.
Today’s arrests are the result of a series of indictments returned last week by a federal grand jury. A total of nine defendants were named in seven indictments that allege some defendants distributed crack cocaine and one was a convicted felon in possession of firearms and ammunition. In addition to the four arrested this morning, two defendants were already in custody. Authorities continue to search for three fugitives.
The investigation into the Bounty Hunter Bloods was conducted by the Violent Crime Impact Team (VCIT), an initiative coordinated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. VCIT includes representatives of the Los Angeles Police Department; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Special Service Unit; and the Los Angeles County Probation Department.
“ATF will continue to work side by side with our law enforcement partners to aggressively target the ‘worst of the worst’ gang members who use firearms to perpetrate violent crimes and instill fear in the communities,” said John A. Torres, Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Los Angeles Field Division. “This ATF investigation is an great example of what our Violent Crime Impact Team can achieve in reducing crime in our cities, stopping the illegal flow of firearms to these gang members, and keeping the communities safe.”
The Bounty Hunter Bloods claim territory in and around Nickerson Gardens, which is the largest public housing development in the western United States.
In addition to the arrests, authorities this morning seized eight firearms, 170 grams of crack cocaine and approximately one pound of marijuana. Previously in this investigation, more than a dozen members or associates of the Bounty Hunter Bloods were arrested on various state parole and probation violations. During the course of the investigation, VCIT seized 10 firearms and more than 1.2 kilograms of crack cocaine.
The defendants arrested this morning are:
Anthony Scott Thompson, 42, of Norwalk, who is charged with distributing crack cocaine;
Franklin Darnell Hervey Jr., 46, of Watts, who is charged with distributing crack cocaine;
Anthony Foreman, 45, of Watts, who is charged with distributing crack cocaine; and
Lawrence Island, 49, of Los Angeles, who is charged with distributing crack cocaine.
The defendants arrested today are making their first court appearances today in United States District Court.
The two defendants previously taken into custody are Artis Harrison Jr., 29, of Watts, who is charged with distributing crack cocaine, and Edward Jack Bolden, 25, who is charged along with Hervey in a narcotics case.
The three fugitives currently being sought by authorities are:
Kristopher Devon Simmons, 29, who is charged with being a felon in possession of two handguns and ammunition;
Linda Marie Hebert, 50, of Los Angeles, who along with Harrison is charged with distributing crack cocaine; and
Wilson Gladney III, 33, of Hawthorne, who is charged with distributing crack cocaine.
The narcotics offenses alleged in the indictments carry mandatory minimum penalties of five years in federal prison and potential sentences of 40 years. The felon-in-possession offenses alleged in the indictment carry penalties of up to 10 years in federal prison.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty.
The investigation into the Bounty Hunter Bloods was initiated by the ATF Field Office in Los Angeles. ATF is the lead federal law enforcement agency in the VCIT initiative, which uses innovative technology, analytical investigative resources and an integrated federal, state and local law enforcement strategy to identify, disrupt, arrest and prosecute the most violent criminals in 31 U.S. cities.
The agencies participating in today’s takedown were the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Los Angeles Police Department; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Hawthorne Police Department; the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Special Service Unit; and the Los Angeles County Probation Department.
Release No. 10-121