MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Twenty-two suspected gang members woke up Wednesday as prime targets in a Department of Justice investigation.
DOJ announced 16 of those 22 suspects were arrested Wednesday morning.
The investigation that led to the arrests began in 2014. It focused on a drug pipeline between Los Angeles and Memphis.
Acting United States Attorney Lawrence Laurenzi said members of the Grape Street Crips in Los Angeles sent drugs to Peda Roll Mafia gang members in Memphis. Those gang members sold the drugs and sent money back to Los Angeles.
Laurenzi said Peda Roll Mafia originated at Bella Vista Apartments and operated throughout the Mid-South.
Investigators found more than 1100 grams of marijuana, more than 3,000 grams of cocaine, plus heroin and meth. They also found pills and 23 guns.
DOJ said the 3-year investigation has effectively shut down the drug pipeline.
Investigators aimed stern warnings and tough talk at other men and women thinking about joining gangs.
"It is our objective to continue to go after gang members involved in drugs...my message to them is: stop it. If you can't stop it, then we're going to search for you; we're going to find you," Laurenzi said.
"If you're in a gang, and you think that we are not paying attention, that is far from the truth," AFT special agent in charge Steve Gerido said.
Laurenzi said 12 of the 16 people taken into custody were arrested in Memphis. Five of the six remaining suspects are believed to be in Memphis.