PD: Gang members overtook Phoenix apartments, 9 arrested - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

PD: Gang members overtook Phoenix apartments, 9 arrested

Posted: Updated: Sep 9, 2013 07:08 AM
Suspect pictures shown at press conference Suspect pictures shown at press conference

Phoenix Police have broken up a street gang that investigators believe had overtaken an apartment complex and turned the neighborhood into a crime-infested area.

Officers moved in Wednesday morning and arrested more than a dozen people. They are still looking for 20 people that were part of this gang.

About 60 officers and federal agents raided the complex this morning. They say so many gang members lived in this one apartment complex that it became a haven for crime.

Drug deals, gun sales, even fights over drugs -- were happening out in the open. The gang had essentially taken over the Winding Creeks Apartments near I-17 and Glendale.

"To allow this kind of criminal activity to go on in a neighborhood is unconscionable in this day and age," said Phoenix Police Commander Benny Pena.

Police say so much crime was happening in and around this complex, the neighborhood soon became one of the busiest crime hotspots in the city.

"Nobody deserves to live in an apartment complex or a neighborhood that has been totally overrun by an armed group of individuals trafficking in narcotics," said Fred Milanowski, ATF.

Police set out to arrest 29 people. So far they've caught 9 of them: Lawrence Whitney, Angel Corralles, Marvin Peck, Lionel "L Boogie" Benjamin, Augustine Blevins, Donte Blevins, Kevin Jones and Rodgerick Johnson.

Authorities believe Whitney and Corralles are the ringleaders. Police also detained the manager.

"The apartment complex ownership and management seemed to be complicit with the criminal activity that was going on in this area," said Pena.

The city code inspectors walked throughout the filthy complex looking for violations. People who live there say there are plenty.

"Most of the apartments are overrun with roaches, if they ain't got roaches they have got bedbugs. You can't come outside and play, you can't let your kids come past your stairwell. It is crazy the walls are falling down on people," said one neighbor, who didn't want to be named.

Depending on the severity of the code violation, the city could begin the process of taking over the complex.

"I am just glad that we are in a better place. This happened and finally they got rid of the riff raff, so maybe all the people that came with it will go."

In addition to the 9 people, police arrested 8 others who have outstanding warrants. 20 suspected gang members are still on the loose.

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