TUCSON, Ariz. -- A nearly yearlong investigation between federal and local authorities has resulted in the arrests of 16 suspected gang members and the seizure of more than 80 firearms, authorities said Wednesday.
A joint investigation between the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Tucson police, the Arizona Department of Public Safety and others came to a head before sunrise Wednesday, when police began executing search warrants at nine different homes and businesses believed to be illegally run by suspected members of the Eastside Crips.
Police nabbed 16 of the 17 suspects for whom they had arrest warrants.
The suspects have not been identified because the investigation, which spans other states, is ongoing, and police expect to make more arrests, Tucson police spokesman Sgt. Pete Dugan said.
``A lot of the individuals we talked to today are suspects in shootings and felony crimes,'' Dugan said.
Police have known of a Crips presence in Tucson for a long time, he said. ``I wouldn't say it's like a huge problem. But anytime you have a criminal gang like this doing what they're doing, it's obviously a problem in the community,'' Dugan said.
Authorities searched a music recording studio and other locations mostly in the east and south sides of Tucson.
The investigation also resulted in arrests in Florida, North Carolina and New York, Dugan said. A spokesman for the ATF did not immediately run calls seeking comment.
The suspects were charged with racketeering, money laundering, participation in a street gang, illegally controlling an enterprise and several drug counts.