Los Angeles cop Juan Aguilar has been battling the Avenues hoodlums long enough to have seen the gang at its most vicious.
During his five years working an anti-gang detail on streets the Avenues claim as their own in the city's northeastern reaches, gang members are accused of gunning down a man in broad daylight as he held his 2-year-old granddaughter's hand, opening fire on LAPD officers with an assault rifle and killing a Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy.
Even as crime has dropped throughout the city, Aguilar says he still braces for the worst when it comes to the Avenues. "When I read the crime reports from the weekend that land on my desk and there hasn't been a gang shooting, I'll say to myself, 'We've had a good weekend.' "
On Tuesday, Aguilar was one of roughly 1,200 police officers and federal agents involved in a massive crackdown on the Avenues -- one of the most entrenched and violent gangs in a city full of them.
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