Boston police charge 75 after raids targeting alleged gang members and associates in Roxbury

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Law enforcement officials talk about today’s major sweep of gang associates in Roxbury.

Boston police conducted a major sweep of gang associates in the Roxbury section of the city today, a targeted raid meant to crack down on drug dealing and violent crime associated with the group, authorities said.

As of midafternoon, 75 people were facing charges, according to Jake Wark, a spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley. The sweep, called “Operation H,” which began at around 6 a.m., is continuing, he said.

The charges were brought based on “controlled buys, extensive surveillance, and two months of testimony before the grand jury,” he said. The controlled buys and surveillance took place between January and May 2013 in the area known as “H-Block” and several surrounding streets, he said.

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“This operation demonstrates the police department’s commitment to getting dangerous criminals and drugs off the streets,” Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis said in a statement. “Over the past several months, detectives videotaped the suspects selling illegal drugs to undercover officers from various locations. The suspects were openly plying their drug trade, victimizing the community and creating an atmosphere of fear—today’s arrests will give residents back their neighborhoods.”

Boston police spokeswoman Cheryl Fiandaca said investigators were executing several search warrants at homes throughout the day to gather more evidence in the cases.

Investigators are hoping they can put pressure on individuals in the group to provide more information about several violent crimes, including the Jan. 11 shooting of Gabriel Clarke, a 13-year-old seventh grader who was shot while walking along Humboldt Avenue to choir practice, according to two law enforcement officials briefed on the investigation, who were not authorized to speak publicly about it.

Clarke survived the shooting. Police believe he was an innocent victim caught up in a violent gang rivalry.

Police often conduct such raids as the weather warms and police try to take people they have deemed dangerous off the street before summer, and the violence that often comes with it, begins.

“Once again, I’m proud of our men and women of the Boston Police Department, our law enforcement partners and the work they do to make our neighborhoods safer,” said Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino.

“This operation makes Roxbury — and all of Boston — safer for residents and visitors alike,” said Conley.

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