Gang Sweep Rounds up 17 in El Monte

     LOS ANGELES (CN) - Seventeen alleged "members and associates" of an L.A. street gang were arrested Wednesday on a 62-count indictment that accuses them of drug dealing, robbery, burglary, carjacking, witness intimidation, kidnapping, gun dealing, credit card fraud, identity theft, and hate crimes against African-Americans.
     More than 400 law enforcement officers conducted the sweep and arrested the 17 people who are among 41 defendants in the 167-page "El Flores gang" indictment, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
     Prosecutors said the gang was directed from prison by the Mexican Mafia, and that their hate crimes were "directed against African-Americans who might reside or be present in the cities of El Monte and South El Monte in an effort to rid these cities of all African-Americans."
     The lengthy indictment includes details about the execution of a former Mexican Mafia member and the killing of four other people in El Monte in 1995.
     "The gang maintains a significant presence at the Boys & Girls Club of America - San Gabriel Valley Club on Mountain View Road, where gang members openly sold drugs, held gang meetings and even held a car wash fundraiser," prosecutors said in a statement about the indictment.
     The U.S. attorney's statement added: "Members of the gang also regularly use and threaten to use violence to extort 'taxes' from drug dealers at "Crawford's Plaza" (at Valley Boulevard and Garvey Avenue) and the 'Klingerman' apartments, as well as from fraudulent document vendors who operate at Crawford's Plaza."
     El Monte and South El Monte, combined population 136,000, are in the Los Angeles metroplex.