The crackdown comes after an 18-month investigation led by the state Department of Justice into one of the most violent criminal motorcycle gangs in the nation, authorities said.
Members of the gang, which started in the Inland Empire in the 1960s, stand accused of suspicion of murder, rape, weapons violations, money-laundering and drug violations.
"It's a dangerous organization ... that's responsible for putting drugs into our communities and schools," said Senior Special Agent David King, head of bureau of narcotics enforcement in Riverside. "These individuals are armed to protect their criminal enterprise, and they've shown how quickly they are willing to use their guns in public.''
State agents joined with local law enforcement agencies early Thursday to execute 52 search warrants in San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Imperial counties at 7 a.m. Arrest warrants also were issued for 12 high-ranking Vagos members, 10 of whom were in custody by late morning.