Joined police forces result in King County gang crackdown

Kent Police Lt. Kent Thomas

Kent Police Lt. Kent Thomas

Twenty-five known gang members were arrested for investigation of narcotics violations, outstanding warrants or immigration violations as part of a crackdown April 11 in South King County by Kent Police and multiple other law-enforcement agencies.

Nearly 40 local and federal law enforcement officers from more than a dozen agencies participated in the gang-emphasis sweep from SeaTac to Auburn to Federal Way.

The task force focused on gang members with outstanding warrants as well as those under probation supervision by the state Department of Corrections. Police informants made street purchases of narcotics from gang members, leading to the arrests.

“We want gang members to know that the police are out there and actively addressing gang activity,” said Kent Police Lt. Ken Thomas, who organized the sweep. “We are not going to tolerate open drug dealing and gang activity in South King County. We want to be proactive rather than waiting for something bad to happen.”

The emphasis areas in Kent by the task force included Pacific Highway South on the West Hill, the Kent transit center just east of Kent Station and 104th Avenue Southeast on the East Hill.

“But the emphasis was not just Kent,” Thomas said. “It was from SeaTac to Federal Way and everywhere in between.”

Agencies that participated in the crackdown included the King County Sheriff’s Office, Des Moines, Federal Way, Port of Seattle, Seattle, Kent, Renton, Auburn, Algona and Pacific police departments as well as the state Department of Corrections, the FBI and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Ten gang members were arrested for outstanding warrants, nine for investigation of narcotics violations, five for investigation of immigration violations and one for a state DOC violation.

The task force arrested 23 known gang members on a similar sweep last October.

“We have more planned,” Thomas said. “Things slowed down in the cold, winter months. But as the weather gets better we see more fights and more drug dealing.”

Thomas expects the cooperation of so many agencies going after gang members to cutdown the amount of gang activity in South King County.

“The more we do, the better things will be,” Thomas said.

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