In what authorities are calling “the largest gang takedown in United States history,” federal and local agents charged or arrested 147 members of a southern California street gang who allegedly sought to murder and otherwise erase African Americans from their community.
The five federal racketeering indictments unsealed Thursday targeted the members and associates of the Varrio Hawaiian Gardens gang, U.S. Attorney Thomas P. O’Brien said at a news conference. The alleged assailants have been charged with a wide range of serious crimes, including murder, kidnapping, firearms and drug violations, and other gang-related actions in Hawaiian Gardens, a community of about 15,000 in southeast Los Angeles County. Almost 75 percent of the residents there are Latinos, 4 percent Black, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
"(Varrio Hawaiian Gardens) gang members take pride in their racism and often refer to the VHG Gang as the 'Hate Gang,'" the main indictment states. "VHG gang members have expressed a desire to rid the city of Hawaiian Gardens of all African Americans and have engaged in a systematic effort to achieve that result by perpetrating crimes against African Americans."
In one particularly egregious act of violence against Blacks, gang members fired guns into a home with eight people inside, the indictment charges. In another case, two gang members chased a Black man while yelling racial slurs at him; when they caught him, they beat him with a garden rake, it alleges. But it didn’t end there for the man, because two gang members allegedly stabbed him later.