First Responders

LA Sheriff’s Operation Safe Streets Makes Major Drug Bust, Seizes Several Illegal Firearms

December 4, 2020Joshua Skovlund
LASD operation safe streets

screen grab from YouTube

On Thursday, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) announced a major drug bust that resulted from two separate search warrants, originally intended for finding illegal firearms in the possession of felons. 

Lt. David Auner, from LASD’s Operation Safe Streets (OSS) Bureau, said the search warrants that were executed on Tuesday resulted in the seizure of more than 100 pounds of methamphetamine, approximately 15 pounds of heroin, eight firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition, and the arrest of two “ex-felon gang members” in connection to the drugs and firearms. 

“Despite trying times, our personnel continues to proactively provide the best public safety possible. These operations are crucial,” LASD Sheriff Alex Villanueva said. “A lot of delinquent lifestyles start at a young age age and involve drugs, gangs and of course, violence. I’m really proud of our OSS Bureau’s dedication, determination and commitment to keep our community safe.”

LASD operation safe streets
LASD seized more than 100 pounds of methamphetamine, 15 pounds of heroine, and firearms and ammunition from two “ex-felon gang members.” Screenshots from YouTube. Composite image by Joshua Skovlund/Coffee or Die Magazine.

The bust was led by LASD’s OSS Bureau after gang detectives and community members from the San Gabriel Valley area worked together to share information in order to identify gang members who were illegally carrying firearms.

Villanueva said that so far in 2020 OSS has arrested 461 suspects of violent crime, seized 305 firearms, and conducted 470 search warrant operations. OSS is composed of two elements, the Gang Enforcement Team and the Operation Safe Streets Detail. The bureau is staffed with more than 200 personnel assigned to 12 different LASD stations, local, state, and federal gang task-force operations.

LASD Sheriff Alex Villanueva during the press conference. Screenshot from YouTube.

They target criminal activities from some of the most dangerous gangs in Los Angeles County. While taking down gang members, they also intervene with younger people who have fallen into gang activities in an attempt to prevent them from becoming hardcore gang members. 

In 1979, LASD established OSS after receiving a federal grant to test out the concept, and it was originally composed of four teams assigned to the East Los Angeles Station, Lynwood Station, Lennox Station, and Pico Rivera Station. They used the template of a prior operation, called Operation Hickory, that was the first of its kind to target the most prominent gang in a territory and subsequently decrease gang activity in the area. 

The bureau’s efforts to combat gang activity directly correlated to a decrease of gang activity in those areas. According to the LASD, the original goal for the teams was to decrease the amount of violence of the targeted gangs by 15%. For each targeted gang during the preliminary run of OSS, violence was reduced by more than 50%. In one case the gang activity dropped by more than 90%, rendering that gang virtually inactive for several years.

Joshua Skovlund
Joshua Skovlund

Joshua Skovlund has covered the 75th anniversary of D-Day in France, multinational military exercises in Germany, and civil unrest during the 2020 riots in Minneapolis that followed the death of George Floyd. Born and raised in small-town South Dakota, he grew up playing football and soccer before serving as a forward observer in the US Army. After leaving the service, he earned his CrossFit Level 1 certificate and worked as a personal trainer while earning his paramedic license. He went on to work in paramedicine for more than five years, much of that time in the North Minneapolis area, before transitioning to a career in multimedia journalism. Joshua is married with two children. His creative outlets include Skovlund Photography and Concentrated Emotion, where he publishes poetry focused on his life experiences.

More from Coffee or Die Magazine
US Speeds Up Abrams Tank Delivery to Ukraine War Zone

The original plan was to send Ukraine 31 of the newer M1A2 Abrams, which could have taken a year or ...

March 21, 2023Associated Press
Coffee Or Die Photo
US: War Crimes on All Sides in Ethiopia's Tigray Conflict

The Biden administration announced Monday that it has determined all sides in the brutal conflict in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.

March 20, 2023Associated Press
military pilots cancer rates
Higher Cancer Rates Found in Military Pilots, Ground Crews

In its yearlong study of almost 900,000 service members who flew on or worked on military aircraft b...

March 20, 2023Associated Press
whiskey pour
Veterans Lead the Way Among America’s Growing Craft Distilleries

American veterans are taking the lessons they learned in the military and changing the craft distilling industry.

March 20, 2023Mac Caltrider
military suicide veteran suicide
Military Moves To Cut Suicides, But Defers Action on Guns

In a memo released Thursday, Austin called for the establishment of a suicide prevention working gro...

March 17, 2023Associated Press
us military drills japan-south korea
US, Partners Stage Military Drills Amid Japan-South Korea Talks

The Sea Dragon 23 exercises that started on Wednesday will culminate in more than 270 hours of in-fl...

March 17, 2023Associated Press
leo jenkins a word like god
‘A Word Like God’: New Book From Army Ranger Leo Jenkins

In his latest poetry collection, Ranger-turned-writer Leo Jenkins turns away from war to explore cosmic themes of faith, fatherhood, and art.

March 16, 2023Mac Caltrider
us drone
Pentagon Video Shows Russian Jet Dumping Fuel on US Drone

The Pentagon on Thursday released video of what it said was a Russian fighter jet dumping fuel on a ...

March 16, 2023Associated Press
  • About Us
  • Privacy Policy
  • Careers
Contact Us
  • Request a Correction
  • Write for Us
  • General Inquiries
© 2023 Coffee or Die Magazine. All Rights Reserved