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Officers raid gang

Richmond Police arrest 18 total Deep-C members

By Holly Pablo
On November 19, 2008

RICHMOND — More than 200 federal, state and local law enforcement officers implemented several early morning raids leading to the arrest of 18 members of Richmond's Deep-C gang on Thursday, police officials say.

Richmond Police Lt. Mark Gagan said the ongoing gang crackdown, titled "Operation: Trident," is the product of an investigation that began a year ago based on the fact that there were 350 shootings and 47 homicides in Richmond during 2007, the highest per capita murder rate in California.

At a news conference that afternoon, Richmond Police Chief Chris Magnus said that over half of the homicides in 2007 are linked to the Deep-C gang, which stands for Deep Central, their primary area of operation within the Iron Triangle neighborhood.

Throughout the operation, which began at 7 a.m. to create an element of surprise, approximately 40 search warrants and 43 arrest warrants were served throughout the Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin and Sacramento counties.

Among the potential prosecution charges are drug trafficking, robbery, conspiracy, assault and prostitution, Magnus said.

Gagan said, "Of the 43 individuals wanted, 18 were apprehended immediately. We were very pleased with the initial results and anticipate that the majority of the remaining will be apprehended."

Police officials said 10 firearms were recovered, as well as one pound of marijuana and one kilogram of cocaine with an estimated combined street value of $100,000.  Close to $20,000 cash was confiscated.

California Department of Justice Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr., at the news conference, said that the vicious gang, exceeding over 100 members, has been wantonly terrorizing the community for the past five years.

The rivalry and retaliatory violence between Deep-C and the Project Trojans, a North Richmond gang, has also been the cause of half of 2007's homicides, Brown said.

The day after the Deep-C raids, Friday, a six-month investigation of the Project Trojans led to another raid in the North Richmond neighborhoods with 21 search warrants. Seventeen arrests were made, police officials said.

Those apprehended will likely enter a prison system Brown calls a "collage of crime," where prisoners reinforce themselves and learn how to outsmart the system.

He said support for local police and the need for longer sentences or rehabilitation services and monitoring of parolees, such as GPS monitors or curfews, is needed so when prisoners are released, they do not return to their old ways.

Of those arrested, many had previously served time in prison, Brown said.

Brown used Vegas Shackelford, arrested Thursday on behalf of Deep-C, as an example.

Shackelford is a 31-year-old felon on parole for the possession of a gun. He was a "shotcaller," Brown said, meaning that he had the power to have a given task executed by lower-ranked members, including homicide.

Gagan said, "We don't view the apprehension of these most violent criminals as the primary accomplishment. We really need to make sure that more young criminals don't try to fill the positions in the gang that were just opened (with these arrests).

"We are working with crime prevention groups and community activists to make sure that we don't see an increase in violence due to the instability we just created," he said.

Brown agreed.

"Things will probably get worse before they get better," he said.

Contact Holly Pablo at hpablo.advocate@gmail.com.


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