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Federal indictments unsealed yesterday (March 1) charge 55 drug dealers and gang members with crimes including money-laundering, robberies, vehicle thefts, burglaries, assaults, and trafficking in heroin, methamphetamine, and firearms. The gang members operated in North County.

Yesterday, more than 150 members of the North County Regional Gang Task Force, along with other law-enforcement agencies, arrested gang members in Oceanside; Vista; Kingman, Arizona; and other North County locations. By noon, 46 of the 55 were in federal or state custody. The search continues for fugitives, two of whom are in Mexico.

The violent gangs to which they belonged include Vista Home Boys, Varrio Fallbrook Locos, Varrio Carlsbad Locos, Encinitas Tortilla Flats, Varrio San Marcos, and Escondido Viejo Diablos. Authorities seized 25 weapons, including handguns, revolvers, and assault rifles.

The trafficking organization is allegedly led by a woman in Mexico who used the gang members to distribute heroin. The gang members are believed to have supplied 25 percent of heroin sold in North County.

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Don Bauder March 5, 2017 @ 5:54 p.m.

Candice Reed: Amazing. Vista's gangs have been well known.

When I was in Chicago in the mid-1960s, a group of us reporters were interviewing Mayor Richard J. Daley. I asked a question about the ghetto. Daley said there was no ghetto in Chicago. Best, Don Bauder

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