PARK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - Federal and local authorities conducted more than 10 raids early Thursday morning in a crackdown on Holland's gang problem.
Thursday's raids began after search warrants were obtained for more than 10 locations in the Holland area. Detectives gathered at 3 a.m. to begin the well-planned and coordinated effort under the cover of night, an investigative source confirmed to 24 Hour News 8.
Dozens of officers from ATF agents to state and local police pulled off a series of raids one year in the making in an effort to stifle gang activity along the lakeshore.
Holland Police were part of the effort, but they aren't talking. In fact, no one is talking -- at least not officially. But 24 Hour News 8 investigators were able to piece together the story through sources and court documents.
Four men were arrested, criminal complaints filed by an agent of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) show: Arturo 'Art' Deleon, Raymon 'King Snappy' Gaytan Jr., Francisco 'Chubaka' Martinez Jr., and Ramon 'Jamon' Morales.
Deleon, 30, was arrested for being a felon in possession of a firearm. The criminal complaint says that authorities found an AMT .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol in a bedroom closet during a search of his Columbia Avenue residence.
The serial number of the gun had been "obliterated," the complaint indicates.
On April 10, according to the complaint, a search of the residence's trash by the Holland Police Department revealed residency documents with Deleon's name on them and an empty bottle of Inositol, which is commonly used in the cocaine trade.
Deleon's previous felony convictions were in 2000 for breaking and entering with intent and felony firearm, according to the complaint.
Gaytan, 25, was arrested for being a felon in possession of ammunition, the complaint says. Authorities found ammunition for a Winchester .357 caliber during a search of his West 11th Street home.
The ammunition was found in a bedroom closet next to Holland Latin Kings gang paraphernalia. Local law enforcement and confidential sources told the ATF agent that Gaytan is a known "enforcer" of the Holland Latin Kings gang. Gaytan has three Latin Kings tattoos, the complaint indicates.
Gaytan's previous felony conviction was in 2005 for attempted malicious destruction of a building.
Martinez, 26, was arrested for being a felon in possession of a firearm, the complaint indicates. A search of his Burke Avenue residence, owned by his girlfriend, found a Remington semiautomatic rifle and Ruger .40 caliber semiautomatic pistol in the garage.
His previous felony convictions were in 2007 for attempted delivery and manufacture of a controlled substance and assaulting and resisting a police officer.
Morales, 36, was also arrested for felony in possession of a firearm, according to the complaint. A search of Morales' West 22nd Street residence revealed the Ruger .40 caliber semiautomatic pistol, according to the complaint, which Morales admitted he had bought two years earlier.
Morales' previous conviction was in 1997 for felony delivery and manufacture of a controlled substance, the document shows.
Investigators say federal indictments are forthcoming and the investigation continues. The four remain in federal custody.
One person was arrested at a raid at a townhouse off Ottawa Beach Road in Park Township, but an employee at the townhouse told 24 Hour News 8 that person was later released.
24 Hour News 8 found no evidence of a criminal complaints against anyone at the Park Township township or a Zeeland address, where another of the raids occurred.
The feds aren't commenting, but past cases show communities like Holland have found the federal government's stricter gun laws are an effective alternative to fighting gang problems using local courts.
One past example is the Wealthy Street Boys. They ruled the drug trade in parts of Grand Rapids back in the 1990s. That group was taken apart with the help of federal gun laws.
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