Gangbusters nab 23 thugs across King County

In a coordinated effort, 23 known gang members were arrested Oct. 24 in an emphasis that spanned from Federal Way to South Seattle.

Gang members with outstanding warrants and those under supervision by the Washington State Department of Corrections were the target of the effort, said Kent police spokesman Paul Petersen. The gang members were all suspected of committing crimes such as murder, narcotics violations, attempted robbery and possession of a stolen vehicle, Petersen said.

The King County Sheriff’s Office; Federal Way, Des Moines, Seattle, Tukwila and Kent police departments; King County Jail; Washington State Department of Corrections; U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; and U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement participated in the effort.

In Federal Way, officers visited areas where they have seen gang graffiti or those rumored to be frequented by gangs, Lt. Casey Jones said. Conducting traffic stops, talking to people in the area and watching for known gang-associated tattoos or clothing helped identify at least two suspects who had warrants and were believed to be gang members, Jones said. Sometimes, members are identified when they admit their allegiance, he said.

The gang unit is fresh to the city and was introduced in September. Talks about creating a gang unit began in early summer, Jones said.

“There is a perception there is a gang problem here,” he said. “We want to find out if there is one.”

Gang graffiti and two shootings, which were suspected to be gang-related, made police recognize the unit is needed, he said.

“If there are shootings with gang members, that, to me, is a problem,” Jones said.

The officers routinely conduct activities such as those which took place Oct. 24. Areas such as the Federal Way Transit Center, South 288th Street and Military Road, and all along Pacific Highway South are locations of interest, he said.

“This emphasis was the first of several coordinated efforts planned in this area to address criminal gang activity,” Kent police chief Steve Strachan said in an Oct. 28 press release. “We’re sending a strong message that law enforcement, corrections and other agencies are working together.”

Anyone with questions or concerns about gang activity can arrange for a community meeting with the officers. There, tips on what to look for and how to possibly identify gang members will be provided, Jones said.

Contact Jacinda Howard: or (253) 925-5565

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