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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

March 9, 2009

Contact: Special Agent Michael Hoffman, PIO

Office: (818) 265-2507

Cell: (213) 925-4547

Gang Member Sentenced to 20 Years in Federal Prison for Drug Trafficking

LOS ANGELES — A Wilmington area gang member arrested last year as part of a large ATF investigation dubbed Operation Rock Pile was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for selling crack cocaine.

Gerard Sprewell, 27, who has five prior felony convictions, was also ordered to pay a fine of $17,500. Sprewell is a member of the Eastside Pain gang which claims territory in parts of Wilmington and Long Beach. On two separate occasions Sprewell sold substantial amounts of crack cocaine to a confidential informant working for ATF. For years Eastside Pain gang members have sold firearms, drugs, and committed violent crimes in an area near the Los Angeles and Long Beach harbors.

We are very pleased with the sentence today. This goes to show that if gang members choose to engage in illegal activity, they will pay the price, said John A. Torres, special agent in charge of ATF’s Los Angeles Field Division. Operation Rock Pile was one of many operations that ATF constantly conducts with our law enforcement partners targeting violent criminals in communities across Southern California, added Torres.

Operation Rock Pile was an intense four month investigation carried out by ATF and the Long Beach Police Department. Beginning in January 2008, the operation targeted firearms and drug traffickers in the Long Beach and Wilmington areas. Federal charges were brought against 24 defendants and state charges were brought on an additional 48 defendants. Twenty-two of the federal defendants have already pleaded guilty and the final two are awaiting trial.

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