Authorities arrested 18 people Thursday on charges related to a gang called the Harpys operating in downtown Los Angeles.
- Harpys gang controls turf between USC and downtown Los Angeles, feds say
- The gang extorts, robs students, deals drugs and threatens to kill in square-mile area
- An imprisoned Mexican Mafia member allegedly ran gang through daughter
- Feds arrest 18 of 29 defendants; five are fugitives; remainder already in custody
In the square mile between the University of Southern California and an edge of downtown where an NFL stadium is being planned, a group of thugs called Harpys or Harpys-Dead End gang runs extortion rackets, "taxes" businesses, robs students and threatens to kill snitches, federal prosecutors allege.
Authorities arrested 18 defendants Thursday named in three federal indictments as part of 2 ½-year investigation called Operation Roman Empire, a play on words referring to imprisoned gang kingpin Danny Roman, spokesman Thom Mrozek of the U.S. attorney's office said.