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Associated Press, Published October 10 2013

Sweep leads to nearly 30 Minn. gang arrests

ST. PAUL - A multi-agency law enforcement sweep has led to the arrests of nearly 30 alleged gang members described as among the most violent in St. Paul, police said Wednesday.

More than 100 officers on Wednesday arrested 16 members of the East Side Boys gang. The arrests were made mainly in St. Paul but also in Minneapolis, Maplewood and Farmington.

"Today is a good day, a day where we've taken some very violent criminals off the street," St. Paul Police Chief Thomas Smith said.

Smith said another 12 arrests were made in the previous four months of "Operation Screeching Halt." The operation involved the FBI, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Minneapolis police and the Ramsey County Sheriff's Department.

The Ramsey County Attorney's Office said so far the arrests have resulted in charges against 15 people, including charges for drug dealing, weapons violations, committing a crime for the benefit of a gang and aggravated robbery.

Wednesday's operation also netted 11 guns, about $3,000 in cash and drugs including methamphetamine, crack cocaine, marijuana and codeine, police said.

Smith said the operation began about a year ago when police decided to determine who are "the most violent individuals in the city of St. Paul."

He said "analytic tools" pointed police to the East Side Boys, which he described as one of the most active gangs in the city.

Police are still looking for other suspects but believe the arrests have prevented some assaults or robberies planned by the suspects, Smith said.