Crackdown On Suspected Gang Members In Akron

AKRON, Ohio (AP) - Police officers, sheriff's deputies, state troopers and federal agents raided city locations Tuesday looking for 61 alleged drug-dealing gang members.

Police Chief Michael Matulavich said drugs and weapons have been a blight in the areas raided southeast of Akron, near the Akron-Fulton Municipal Airport.

"This joint investigation will hopefully bring about a significant change in the quality of life for the law-abiding citizens of the city of Akron and all of Summit County," Matulavich said.

Seventeen people were sought on warrants from the Summit County sheriff's department and Akron police. Forty-four suspects were named in a 101-count federal indictment, according to U.S. Attorney Emily M. Sweeney.

The suspects were charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess crack cocaine and selling crack cocaine.

Most defendants face up to 20 years and $1 million fines if convicted, Sweeney said, and 14 could face 40-year sentences.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)