Police arrest more than a dozen reputed gang members

Seized guns
Police seized 11 guns during an arrest of 16 people they say are connected to the East Side Boys, a gang, on Oct 9, 2013.
MPR Photo/Matt Sepic

Sixteen people were arrested today and 11 were charged in a crackdown on a St. Paul-based street gang.

Authorities say all the suspects are members of the East Side Boys. They were arrested as part of an effort by Minneapolis and St. Paul police, as well as the FBI and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

The majority of the suspects charged so far are accused of drug crimes. At least one has been charged with aggravated robbery and two face firearms charges.

Police also said they seized 11 guns.

Minneapolis FBI Special Agent in Charge Chris Warner said the operation is aimed at getting the Twin Cities' most violent people off the streets.

"These cases are not about drugs. They're about violence. And they're about protecting the citizens of our cities," Warner said.

St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith said more arrests are likely. He said the effort likely prevented more violence, which justified the focus on the St. Paul gang.

"When people get up in the morning and maybe talk about who they're going to rob and assault today, we've got to take those individuals off the street," Smith said.

Police said the East Side Boys were among dozens of young people involved in a St. Paul street fight last August.

Five others have already been charged separately in the near-fatal beating of a man who tried to walk past the brawl.

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