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50 white supremacists arrested in Southern California crime sweep

There were 50 white-supremacist’s arrested in what Orange County prosecutors called the largest crackdown on supremacist gangs in Southern California.

The sweep called “Operation Stormfront,” named after their white-supremacist website, included a collaboration between the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Orange County District Attorney’s Office, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Secret Service.

Sheriff Deputies and ATF investigators went undercover, infiltrating the white gangs looking for various drug and gun crimes, according to officials.

There were 14 people arrested and charged with three indictments including –extortion, conspiracy and solicitation of aggravated assault and murder, county prosecutors announced.

“Operation Stormfront has taken 34 dangerous gang members off our streets (another 16 were charged while in prison) through new indictments and probation and parole violations,” said Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. “This is the largest-ever take-down of white supremacist prison and street gang criminal enterprises in Orange County.”

Rackauckas said, the arrests included a married couple, Wayne and Ruthie Marshall who were “shot-callers,” Wayne, was running the gang from an Orange County jail while he was awaiting a trial.

“Ruthie acted as his trusty lieutenant and (facilitated) three-way calls, acted as a communication bridge between her husband and criminal street gang members, gave orders on his behalf and gave her own orders under the pretense of acting on his behalf,” Rackauckas explained.

The 14 defendants face life in prison if convicted of their crimes, the Orange County District Attorney said.

The collaborative effort was due to budget cutbacks, said Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens. The effort paid off and the agencies were able to get many violent racist gang members off the streets.

“The bottom line to this investigation is some very, very, very serious bad guys have been taken off the streets for a long time,” Hutchens explained. “We will continue these types of relationships to make sure we get these bad people off the streets and in jail where they belong.”

Kevin O’Grady, Orange County’s regional director for the Anti-Defamation League said he was happy with the outcome and agreed with other participants that some bad guys were now off the streets.

“This was a significant bust,” O’Grady said. “It’s going to put a real dent in all of the racist gangs.”

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© Copyright 2010 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

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