Gang Members Arrested

More than 40 alleged gang members were off Omaha area streets Tuesday. For 24 hours, area law enforcement agencies served warrants on the violent MS-13 gang.

The U.S. Attorney's office says the investigation is ongoing and more arrests are expected in the near future.

The arrests are the culmination of an 11-month investigation aimed at the Mara Salvatruchas (MS-13) gang in the Omaha Metropolitan area.

The FBI's Safe Streets Task Force headed up the investigation. It was assisted by the Omaha Police Department, the Bellevue Police Department, the Nebraska State Patrol, the Drug Enforcement Administration and Immigration agents.

John Kavanagh, FBI Special Agent says, "The time has come for those gang members that are preying on our citizens and destroying our neighborhoods to beware."

The talk was tough at Tuesday's press conference announcing the raids.

Omaha Police Chief Thomas Warren says, "We targeted MS-13 because it is one of the most violent Hispanic gangs in the Omaha area."

The homes raided by officials Tuesday were scattered throughout the metro. One in the Southridge neighborhood in Sarpy County was hit about 6 a.m. and neighbors tell Channel 6 News that agents carried out several bags of evidence.

FBI agents searching the home opened the door but said they couldn't answer any questions about the raid or the search. The agents turned the house over to the owner just before noon.

More agents hit a Midtown home. A woman who lives there says she's not sure what authorities removed.

The totals from the raids are still being calculated but officials did provide some preliminary numbers. Agents say they took a cache of weapons, 20 pounds of marijuana, a half-pound of meth, four ounces of cocaine, and more than $26,000 in cash.

But authorities don't think this is the end of MS-13.

Mick Mickle, Assistant U.S. Attorney says, "People gravitate toward this type of activity and there will be people who remain here or return here who we'll target in the future."

Gasper Granados watched as authorities moved in near 132nd and Chandler Tuesday morning.

He says, "They just hit the door and busted the door and threw out those bombs, the smoke bombs, and put everybody on the floor in handcuffs."

Granados, a family friend of the people who live in that home, says he doesn't believe any guns or drugs were found.

He says he believes they took IDs, bank statements and a cell phone. They also left with three of the people who live there. Two of them were listed on a search warrant with the nicknames Sniper and Trigger.

Granados says his friends aren't angels but, "they moved from South Omaha to over here to stay away from that stuff -- the bad kids."

Neighbor Beth Rutar says, "It's kind of scary with the kids in the neighborhood. A lot of the kids in this neighborhood just run up and down the streets and, you know, you try to trust your neighbors, you know. You just don't want stuff like that to happen in your neighborhood."


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