GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Police in Glendale say they've made the city a lot of safer by arresting more than 70 suspected gang members for an assortment of violent crimes, including murder.
It's called Operation Neighborhood Guardian, and Glendale police said with help from the Department of Homeland Security they were able to take down a large portion of a criminal street gang operating in Glendale for the last 30 years.
Police said it was a 2010 murder that launched their investigation into the criminal street gang called Grandel.
Police said the gang started as a prison gang strictly for Glendale residents back in the 70s, and grew from there.
Phase one of the year-long investigation resulted in some 52 arrests and 40 violent criminal cases cleared.
Phase two culminated Wednesday with an additional 17 arrests and 151 offenses charged, including
homicide, armed robbery, aggravated assault, weapons violations, home invasion burglary, theft and money laundering.
Police said the goal of this street gang was to control everything that happened within the city limits of Glendale.
“They want the Mexican drug cartel for example to go through them for their drug trade,” said Glendale Assistant Police Chief Rick St. John. “Obviously that cost the drug cartels money because they’ve got to pay Grandel and the cartels don’t want to do that so that creates conflict and violence.”
Police said this investigation is far from over and there are another half dozen or so suspects left to arrest. But already this operation has made a huge dent in crime.
“They say people who are responsible for felony crimes or are repeat offenders are responsible for multiple felony crimes a week,” said Sgt. Brent Coombs. “So even one person makes a difference and we're talking about 73, so that makes a big difference and it may be things that people don't even realize could have happen to them because now these people are in the system and off the streets.”