MARTINEZ, Calif. (BCN) - By Bay City News Service
The Contra Costa County District Attorney, in cooperation with the FBI and several East Bay police departments, announced the arrest of eight alleged gang members as part of a 16-month investigation code-named "Operation Klap it Out" during a news conference this afternoon in Martinez.
The suspects are affiliated with the "Broad Daylight Klap Gang," named for their tendency to perpetrate violence during daylight hours and the sound a firearm makes when it goes off. The organization has been around for roughly 20 years during which time it's gone through several "evolutions," according to police.
The arrests of Darnell Keyon Lash, Ezell Tommy Jenkins, Dasheid Keonya Lash, D'Vance Jacquez Sumblin, Lester Gene Curry, Larry Darnell Goines, Jr. and Javell Cooksey as well as an eighth suspect in Mississippi represent a "significant and successful disruption" to the gang's various
criminal enterprises, according to District Attorney Diana Becton.
During a series of searches that led up to these arrests, including some searches conducted in prison, investigators seized 11 pounds of marijuana, $23,000 in cash and several firearms -- including a fully automatic Glock 23 with an extended magazine.
The charges filed against the alleged gang members include conspiracy, carrying a loaded firearm in connection with a street gang, possession of a firearm by a felon, dissuading a witness by force or threat and "street terrorism." The suspects were in court for preliminary hearings
this morning, Becton said.
Police say the eighth suspect who was picked up in Mississippi, Giovante Boyd, is also responsible for a drive-by shooting that took the life of 47-year-old Robert Moffett on March 5 in Pittsburg.
Boyd allegedly hid a gun under a vehicle, returned to find it missing and then confronted another man who he thought was responsible. Boyd felt disrespected, returned later and shot that individual - who survived. Moffett, a bystander, was not so lucky.
"The brazen nature of these crimes show the level of danger this gang introduced," Pittsburg Police Chief Brian Addington said.
In addition to taking guns and allegedly violent offenders off the street, Operation Klap it Out may have also prevented at least one homicide after investigators who were tipped off flooded the area with law enforcement officers. They later persuaded the intended victim to leave the area, although he declined to go into witness protection.
District Attorney Becton said that these eight arrests have led to new leads, which they intend to follow up in collaboration with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.
"This is not the last time we will stand here and talk about this," FBI Special Agent In Charge John Bennett said. "We will keep coming."
"2018 is going to be a big year," Bennett said. "These gangs need to be looking over their shoulder."