An investigation led by the FBI and the Los Angeles Police Department Tuesday night and Wednesday morning resulted in the arrest of 14 defendants linked to a street gang on federal charges alleging the distribution of narcotics, some of which were sold to customers out of two South Los Angeles storefronts.
The investigation — dubbed Operation Hoover Dam — resulted in three indictments being returned over the past few weeks by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles.
The indictments allege that the defendants — all reputed members or associates of the gang, or alleged drug dealers who operated in gang territory — sold methamphetamine, crack cocaine, cocaine and phencyclidine, known as PCP. One indictment also alleges weapons violations, including carrying a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The main indictment charges 10 defendants, including two purported senior gang members who operated stores where narcotics allegedly were peddled.
Bobby Lorenzo “Zo” Reed, 56, the owner of the H&E Smoke and Snack Shop, and Andrew “Batman” Tate, 52, the owner of TNN Market, each sold meth, crack and powder cocaine from their respective South Los Angeles stores, referred customers to one another, supplied one another, and directed their employees to engage in drug sales and referrals, according to the indictment, which details dozens of alleged narcotics transactions in 2017 and 2018.
The 32-count indictment further charges Tate and a second person with conspiring to distribute heroin inside Solano State Prison in Vacaville. In that conspiracy, Tate is accused of supplying heroin to Lashina Lacy, 33, of Fresno, who allegedly attempted to smuggle the contraband into the prison for an incarcerated gang member, who, in turn, intended to sell the heroin to other inmates, court papers state.
As a result of that part of the investigation, which included the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the heroin was intercepted before entering the prison.
The second indictment charges three defendants with participating in a series of narcotics transactions in 2018, some involving sales of one and two ounces of methamphetamine and crack cocaine. The third indictment charges two people with distributing street-level quantities of PCP and crack cocaine.
The three indictments charge a total of 15 defendants. After 14 arrests late Tuesday and early Wednesday, authorities are continuing to search for one defendant, Ricky Blue, 51, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The defendants were taken into custody primarily in South Los Angeles, but arrests were also made in South Gate and Fresno.
If convicted of the charges alleged in the indictments, most of the defendants would face mandatory minimum sentences of five or 10 years in federal prison, prosecutors said.