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Gang sweep targets alleged Armenian Power members

Posted: February 17, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 17, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

A Canyon Country man was among 99 people arrested and charged in an countywide raid early Wednesday morning, targeting alleged members of the Armenian Power organized crime group.

The 35-year-old married man who, up until late 2008, owned and operated a fast-food restaurant franchise on Soledad Canyon Road near Sierra Highway, was charged with fraud Wednesday.

Officers with the Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force, which  represents several law enforcement agencies, arrested 74 individuals they say belong to the Armenian Power, charging them with crimes including kidnapping, extortion, bank fraud and narcotics trafficking, according to FBI spokeswoman Laura Eihmiller.

Most of those arrested are named in two federal indictments that charge a total of 88 defendants linked to Armenian Power, commonly called AP.

State-related offences led to 11 other AP members also being charged.

The local man was arrested at his home east of Sierra Highway and north of Soledad Canyon Road, Eihmiller said.

“He was arrested this morning at his home without incident,” she said.

The man is charged with two counts of identity theft, two counts of access to vice fraud and four counts of aggravated identity theft, she said, noting the charges came about through credit card skimming.

“Among the conspiracies charged in the racketeering indictment is a bank fraud and counterfeit credit card scheme that victimized hundreds of customers of 99 Cents Only Stores throughout Southern California,” according to the FBI.

The alleged gang members caused more than $2 million in losses, according to authorities.

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