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Dozens arrested in massive L.A. parole sweep

August 26, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
It's described as the largest parole sweep in Los Angeles County history. More than six dozen suspected parole violators were arrested and drugs and weapons were seized in a massive law enforcement operation.About 300 high-profile parolees were targeted in Operation Disarm. Most had spent time in prison for gun crimes.

It was also one of the largest parole sweeps in the entire state. The goal of Operation Disarm was to track down parole violators and to take illegal weapons off the streets.

Just before dawn the raids began Three hundred homes were targeted, from the South Bay to the Antelope Valley.

"The worst of the worst, if you will," said ATF Agent Mike Hoffman. "They targeted parolees that have committed crimes of violence in the past."

It took more than a month to put the operation together. About 900 law enforcement officers took part, including L.A County Sheriff's Dept., the Dept. of Corrections and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. They found dozens of guns, including rifles, and hundreds of rounds ammunition.

"These firearms are truly in the hands of people that want to go out and do harm to the local citizens," said Hoffman. "They want to terrorize neighborhoods."

California has more than 100,000 parolees, and about a third of them live in Los Angeles. Keeping track of them is something the sheriff's department does every day.

"We contacted 6,669 parolees and let them know, if you want to do it the right way here's the way to do it," said L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca. "You want to do it the wrong way, we know who you are, we know we can find you, we know we can arrest you for the things that you do wrong."

The Department of Corrections has hired 400 new parole agents. They say they now have smaller caseloads and they can concentrate on the more high risk offenders.

"The state of California, I want you to know, has 108,000 parolees. one-third of them live right here in Los Angeles. This is why it is so important to do these sweeps and to stay on top of it," said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. "We want to let them know that because of this parole reform, we can watch very closely, what each and every one of them does. And if they break the law, we're going to go after them. It's that simple."

Seventy-seven parolees were arrested Thursday. Since January the Department of Corrections has located or arrested 2,600 parolees, and among them there were 100 sexual offenders.


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