16 arrested Friday following multi-agency raids - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

16 arrested Friday following multi-agency raids in 3 Western MA cities

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HOLYOKE, MA (WSHM) -

Sixteen people were arrested Friday following a series of raids led by many agencies including local, state and federal police officers.

Eleven of those arrested are now facing federal drug distribution and firearms charges. And authorities say that the multi-city raid was the result of a long-term investigation into the La Familia gang and heroin and cocaine trafficking in the Holyoke area.

One of the day's major raids took place at 556 South Bridge Street in Holyoke an area police say is known for gang activity.

"These drug dealers or thugs make the streets of our city unsafe," said Holyoke Police Chief James Neiswanger. "They are really like a cancer in our society that needs to be cut out and they should be sent to prison for a very, very long time."

The operation entitled 60 minutes was carried out throughout Holyoke, Springfield and Chicopee.

Police say several of those arrested were high-ranking members of the La Familia gang.

"When you take off the head of the snake I think you've made a pretty good debt in their operation," said Neiswanger.

Through the operation, several firearms including a high-powered assault rifle and tens of thousands of dollars in cash were recovered.

"Today was not about just grabbing drugs the reality is it was about serving arrest warrants on people," said Neiswanger.

Hundreds of officers took part in Friday's raids.

In total 19 arrests have been made throughout the on-going investigation.

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