(Painesville, Ohio) It all started with an investigation into threats made on the lives of two Eastlake police officers.
From The News-Herald:
Members of the Aryan Brotherhood jailhouse gang and Pagans Motorcycle Club were among the dozens arrested Thursday during a six-county, multi-jurisdictional raid on organized crime activity.
After almost two years of investigation by federal, state and Northeast Ohio law enforcement agencies, 44 arrest warrants were executed in Lake, Cuyahoga, Ashtabula, Trumbull, Summit and Mahoning counties, said Patrick J. Berarducci, a senior special agent and Ohio spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
As of late Thursday afternoon, authorities had taken 33 of the 44 suspects into custody, he said. The 44 warrants were comprised of 12 federal warrants and 32 state warrants, the special agent said.
Exact charges and names of those arrested were expected to be released this morning by the ATF, Lake County Sheriff's Department, Eastlake police and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Ohio.
Potential federal and state charges could include firearms violations, narcotics trafficking and possession of stolen property, Berarducci said.
According to Berarducci, a 20-month undercover operation resulted
in the raids and arrests by 14 teams of law enforcers totaling about 125 officers. Undercover agents purchased more than a dozen machine guns. A raid
at a Mentor amphetamine lab last week was also the result of the undercover operation.
The Aryan Brotherhood is comprised primarily of white supremacists who advocate violence against minorities in U.S. prisons. The members continue to encourage violence on release from prison. In Ohio, there are about 550 Aryan members incarcerated who can be easily identified by double lightning bolts and the numbers "666" tattooed on their chests and the initials "AB" on their left collarbones.
The coordinated effort involved the U.S. Attorney's Office, Cleveland Police, Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office, U.S. Marshal's Office, Lake County Sheriff's Office, Painesville and Eastlake Police, Ashtabula County Sheriff's Office, Mahoning County Sheriff's Office, Youngstown Police, and the Mahoning County Prosecutor's Office.
All this commotion happened within a few miles of this writer's neighborhood. I was aware of some criminal elements but nothing to the extent revealed by the undercover investigation.