BOSTON (CBS) – Dozens of alleged gang leaders and members were rounded up in early morning raids on the North Shore Friday.

Federal agents, along with state and local police, descended on neighborhoods in Lynn and Lowell in a targeted drug and firearms sweep dubbed “Operation Melting Pot.” In all, 37 locations were swept.

Bernice Corpuz reports from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Boston

61 people were charged, 37 of them put in jail. The suspects face a range of weapons and drug charges. According to Massachusetts State Police spokesman David Procopio, those arrested were, “primarily the leaders, members and associates of feuding Bloods and Crips street gangs.”

FBI agents worked with State Police and members of the Lynn and Lowell police forces in the coordinated raids, which capped an investigation that began in the summer of 2009.

WBZ-TV’s Kate Merrill reports on the sweep

Over the course of the entire investigation, major firepower was taken off the streets. More than forty firearms were confiscated, including machine guns, assault rifles and sawed off shotguns. Crack, cocaine, heroin, marijuana and more than $40,000 in cash has been recovered.

“Neighborhoods in Lynn and Lowell are much safer today than they were yesterday,” said Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI. “No longer will senseless violence from a decade-long feud keep the community hostage.”

“When you look at this array of weapons, and how many lives were saved, it’s remarkable,” added Lowell Police Superintendent Ken Lavallee.

Lynn Police Chief Kevin Coppinger said he anticipates violence in his city will drop dramatically following Friday’s arrests.

“Anytime you can take weapons off the street it’s huge. It sends a message,” he said. “We will target you, we will prosecute you…to the full extent of the law.”

Comments (7)
  1. Ed says:

    It’s about time!!!

  2. bruinsfan says:

    can we please do this is Mattapan and Dorchester and Roxbury. Innocent people are also living in fear there as well and do not need to be!!!!

  3. fisherman says:

    How many were M-13 or merely in this country illegally?

  4. Jane C. Conway says:

    Since when are Lowell, Lawrence and Haverhill the NORTHSHORE? They AREN’T.

    How many of these “gang” mambers will be cited for illegal firearm possession and get the 1 year mandatory prison time per firearam? NONE, I”ll bet… read “plea bargain.”

  5. JJ says:

    My husband and I watched one of the raids this morning, from our driveway………..yikes!!

  6. Pete in West Townsend says:

    Massachusetts’ thought process- Make guns harder to get legally for law abiding citizens.
    Rest of the US’s thought process- make guns easier for law abiding citizens to get. Have them arm themselves in an effort to preserve their lives, safety and safety of their families!

    MA= strictest gun laws in the country… yet as we see, guns are readily available to CRIMINALS… just not you or I, because we try to go about getting them legally and lawfully. Makes you wonder!

  7. Sue says:

    Pete and Jane …RIGHT ON!!!!
    another reason why people get so P.O. about stuff like this.. They will be back out on the street tomorrow…
    The criminals get guns easily….law abiding citizens have to go thru an act of congress to protect themselves.

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