35 arrested in massive gang bust on Indianapolis east side

Over 500 officers were involved in Wednesday's sweep.
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Thirty-five people were arrested in a massive, citywide warrant sweep to take down a gang operating in Indianapolis since 2004.

US Attorney Josh Minkler, along with FBI, IMPD and Indiana State Police, announced the results of Wednesday morning's bust.

In all, 525 officers served arrest warrants at multiple locations, mainly on the Indianapolis east side. Thirteen people were taken into federal custody and 22 were taken into state custody, mainly for drug conspiracy and firearms charges.

See a map showing the locations of where warrants were served.

Wednesday's sweep was the result of a year-long investigation whose purpose, Minkler said, was to bring down a "violent gang" called the Blockburners who operated on the east side of Indianapolis - in a part of the city that has been hit hard by violent crime.

Police seized $53,000, along with drugs and guns. The US attorney says gang members sold heroin, cocaine and prescription pain pills, and 
"seemed to think they could operate with little or no consequence." Minkler says that attitude was demonstrated by the types of posts that gang members made on social media, which he says showed them committing overt acts associated with drug dealing.

"For the Blockburners, those days are over," Minkler said.

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Three additional arrests have been authorized, including one for William Brown (pictured).

"Thank you for your hard work and willingness to listen to police officers who really were tired of dealing with the same element over and over and over again," said IMPD Chief Rick Hite, addressing the FBI agents who worked on the case with IMPD.

The chief thanked Indianapolis residents for being patient. "We told you this day would come," Hite said. He talked about other significant gang busts since 2007 involving groups like "Family Ties" and "14-15."

Residents like Maurice Burns appreciate those efforts, but he still says there's work to be done.

"You know it's getting better a little bit. The cops are doing a little work out here and cleaning it up a little bit. It's still rough, you know.  It's just where we live. Just to clean up the streets, yes, we definitely want that around here. It's not good with children playing across the street," said Burns.

As far as active gangs who are still out there, Chief Hite had a message.

"Just because you're not here today in custody doesn't mean we don't know who you are," Hite promised. "We still have intel working right now as we speak."

Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter called on the media to "showcase something that very rarely happens. I've not seen this happen in my career. I am so incredibly humbled by the show of law enforcement unity as a force multiplier."

See a map showing the locations of where warrants were served.

"There is nowhere to hide," Carter said. "If you continue to participate in this kind of behavior, none of us standing up here, none of the 500 and some officers that responded today at 3:00 am to make our community safer, would hesitate to do the exact same thing tomorrow. It's what our citizens should expect."

Carter said he was saddened by the amount of violence he's seen occur in Indiana over the past several years. "The amount of violence that happens to good citizens of this state should rock the very soul of who we are. We need the community to talk to us."

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