By Mike Hellgren

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Federal raids this week have targeted members of the Bloods gang in Maryland and Virginia, resulting in 28 arrests by more than 300 federal agents from the FBI, ATF, and DEA. It’s part of ‘Operation Tin Panda.’

The government targeted drugs and firearms violations, and there were several arrested in Howard County, including Tayvon Patterson from Elkridge.

Prosecutors say he offered to bail out lower-level drug dealers and posted on Instagram, “I got million-dollar dreams and federal nightmares.”

The Bloods have a presence across much of Maryland.

Former gang intelligence officer Tony Avendorph, who worked with several Maryland police agencies, talked to WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren about how violent they can be.

“They are into assaults, attempted murders, murders, but their primary source of income is drug trafficking and weapons trafficking,” Avendorph said.

Bloods gang members were behind the murder of Baltimore teenager Arnesha Bowers in her family’s home in the northeast part of the city three years ago. Bowers was beaten, raped, and set on fire.

Last year, federal agents arrested 24 members of the Murdaland Mafia Piru subset of the Bloods. They operated out of Northwest Baltimore.

According to federal prosecutors, the gang:

“For many years controlled the drug trade in large swaths of Northwest Baltimore City and neighboring Baltimore County. MMP was modeled after the Italian Mafia. Members and associates of MMP operated street-level drug distribution ‘shops’ in various locations in Baltimore City and distributed heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine, fentanyl, and marijuana, among other controlled substances. The gang’s drug shop in the 5200 block of Windsor Mill Road was particularly lucrative due to its close proximity to Interstate 70, and it frequently attracted drug customers driving from western Maryland and neighboring states.”

Avendorph told WJZ, “These gangs are not fly-by-night organizations. They are organized, and they are structured. Between them and the Black Guerilla Family, they pretty much dominate our Maryland prison system.”

Avendorph believes the recent national attention on the MS-13 gang may have allowed members of other gangs, like those affiliated with the Bloods, to let their guard down.

“It kind of gives them a window of opportunity when no one is paying attention to them,” he said.

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