Updated: Thursday, 04 Nov 2010, 8:01 PM EDT
Published : Thursday, 04 Nov 2010, 7:32 PM EDT
By ROBIN SCHWARTZ
PONTIAC, Mich. - Dozens of gang suspects, many in their teens and early twenties, were arrested Thursday when more than 30 search warrants were executed in Pontiac, Auburn Hills, Waterford and Clarkston.
"The charges involve conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana," U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said during a press conference.
A task force made up of agents from the F.B.I., Drug Enforcement Agency and various police departments has spent more than a year tracking members of the gangs New World Order (NWO) and Almighty Latin King Nation.
Nearly $10,000 in cash was seized by the task force, as well as guns, drugs and dozens of cell phones.
Plans to disband the Pontiac Police Department are in the works and could take effect as early as next month.
Officials told FOX 2's Robin Schwartz that they hope these arrests send a clear message that gang activity and violent crime will not be tolerated.
Police say New World Order is a multi-racial street gang, also involved in armed robberies, assaults and murders.
One of the men arrested in the raids, Santos Del Valle, is accused of being the leader of NWO. Del Valle claims that police have got it all wrong.
"They just misunderstand. It's just a rap label group," Del Valle told FOX 2's Charlie Langton.
Del Valle also claimed the organization is not involved in drugs to the extent that they're being accused.
"Yeah, sometimes we is, but it's not like what they think (it) is. Just a little bit... just how Pontiac is. They just involved with some. But it's not true how they think that it is," Del Valle said.
Police said more arrests are expected in the coming days.