State and federal law enforcement agents swarmed neighborhoods on Los Angeles yesterday arresting as many as 80 people. Law enforcement says the operation was the culmination of more than two years of investigations. Sixty six Californians were arrested on suspicion of California weapons and drug charges. Federal authorities took an additional 14 Californians into custody, reportedly under federal indictments.

Law enforcement says the previous investigation included the use of undercover agents who allegedly purchased as many as 90 firearms. Undercover agents reportedly also bought drugs during the investigation. Police say agents bought roughly 1.5 kilograms of cocaine, 2 kilograms of crack, 2.5 kilograms of methamphetamine, 2 kilograms of heroin and 26 pounds of marijuana during the investigation.

Police allege that the focus of the investigation was on alleged California gang members and their associates. Law enforcement says they were particularly focusing on Rancho San Pedro, a gang that currently has 600 members and 400 associates.

The arrests involve allegations of gang related drug sales and illegal weapons charges. Allegations of gang crimes in California can bring harsh penalties for anyone convicted of the charge, and provide exposure to the California three strikes law.

In all, county officials say they expect to file charges against roughly 145 defendants on California state charges after the investigation. The sweep earlier this week involved 1,300 federal, state and local officers or agents. Police called the sweep Operation Pirate Town.

In addition to the raids against Rancho San Pedro, federal authorities targeted 10 other gangs who they claim acted as suppliers for gangs in Los Angeles and Southern California. This week's sweep follows an earlier operation that occurred in 2010. Last year, LAPD and federal agents arrested roughly 60 people in a similar raid of the same area of Los Angeles.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Operation Pirate Town nets more than 70 suspected gang members in Harbor area," 28 Apr 2011