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Operation Knockout

A May 21, 2009 multi-agency raid in Los Angeles is part of the nation’s largest-ever gang investigation and prosecution.


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Slate: Operation Knockout. L.A. gangs were targeted; the nation’s largest-ever gang investigation and prosecution.

Slate: More than 1,400 officers involved; 40 federal, state, and local agencies participated.

Officer’s voice: First of all, thank you very much. Thank you very much for coming. We appreciate why you’re here. We all understand that this was a three and a half year investigation that has culminated to today’s date.

Ambient noises: officer’s running and gathering, helicopter flying overhead.

Unseen Officer: “Somebody’s over there.”

Unseen Officer: “FBI. Warrant. Open the door.”

Unseen Officer: “You in the doorway, slowly, down on your knees, your hands on the back of your head.

(Crackle of police radio, officers speaking)

Unseen Officer: “Anybody else in the house?”

Unseen Officer: “Hands up on top of your head. Turn away from the sound of my voice. Slowly back towards the door. Slowly. Keep your back towards me. Mam, stay where you are. Turn away from the sound of my voice.”

(Sound of helicopter overhead)

(Sound of birds chirping, police radio)

Unseen officer: “I need to go to some, quickly, identifying information, stuff like that. I’m not going to ask anything about what’s going on. It’s just king of like, what’s your name? What’s your last name?”

FBI agent: “They found meth everywhere. Baggage. Everyone was being punks so they hooked everybody up and they’re bringing them all back here. So we do have our main target in custody.

(Voice of dispatcher)

FBI agent: “SWAT, SWAT, SWAT. FBI SWAT, all three. This one we had to roll to a second one and they got a consent to search. The parents signed it. They had Spanish speakers there. And it was the garage we tried to get into. We had calls on the wire for a long time saying that the garage at this house, they had a bunch of Mexican mafia paraphernalia.”

(Sounds of officers gathering, police radio)

Slate: More than 200 defendants have been indicted, with more than 130 already in custody.