HAWAIIAN GARDENS, Calif. (AP) – A Latino street gang waged a racist campaign to eliminate the city’s black residents through attempted murders and other crimes, according to federal racketeering indictments unsealed Thursday.
Five indictments charged a total of 147 members and associates of the Varrio Hawaiian Gardens gang, and federal and local agencies arrested 63 of them by early Thursday, U.S. Attorney Thomas P. O’Brien said at a news conference.
Another 35 defendants were already in custody on unrelated charges. Weapons and drugs worth more than $1 million also were seized in what O’Brien called “the largest gang takedown in United States history.” . . .
“(Varrio Hawaiian Gardens) gang members take pride in their racism and often refer to the VHG Gang as the `Hate Gang,’” the main indictment said. “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.”. . .
The indictments mark at least the second time in less than two years that federal authorities have accused Latino gang members of attacking black residents because of their race. Local officials have tried to downplay racial tensions. . . .