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VALLEY RESIDENTS ARRESTED IN CYCLE-GANG RAID.

Byline: Melissa Schmitt Daily News Staff Writer

Two San Fernando Valley men were among 17 members of a Southern California motorcycle gang arrested on suspicion of federal firearm violations, authorities said Tuesday.

``This will have a significant impact on violence in the Valley,'' said Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agent John Torres.

Jeffrey Johnson, 28, of Reseda and Brian McCracken, 29, of Northridge were arrested Tuesday and charged with felony possession of a firearm, Torres said.

Johnson was arrested in the 17200 block of Elkwood Street in Van Nuys, and McCracken was arrested in the 18500 block of Bryant Street in Northridge, Torres said.

Agents contend that Johnson and McCracken are members of the Vagos Motorcycle Gang, which has more than 200 members making it the largest motorcycle gang in Southern California, Torres said.

Sawed-off shotguns, machine guns, explosives and narcotics were confiscated during the morning arrests, according to Torres.

The ATF worked with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and San Fernando police.

Most of the 17 men were arrested at their homes in the Los Angeles, San Diego and Las Vegas, Nev., areas, Torres said. They were charged with drug trafficking, firearms possession, torture, kidnapping, robbery and burglary, according to Richard Curd, ATF agent in charge.

``The scope and nature of the charges, and the gun seizures speak volumes about the nature of this gang,'' Curd said. ``Hopefully our work will have a lasting and debilitating effect on them.''

During the course of a two-year investigation, agents used informants and worked undercover, living the lifestyle of the Vagos gang members, Torres said.

``Just prior to becoming full members, we were able to get enough (to arrest),'' he said.

According to Torres, motorcycle gangs fight with one another. In the past couple of years those fights had escalated to include murder threats.

``The ATF gets involved when it wants to have a significant impact on violent crime, and we do believe we have in this case,'' Torres said.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Oct 28, 1998
Words:328
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