Scores of alleged gang members appeared before a federal judge in Alexandria on Thursday, accused of trafficking in guns, drugs and shootings.
Some 300 federal agents and police swept up 28 men from across the region on Wednesday. They raided a total of 21 different locations.
But this was not the notorious MS-13 gang. These are allegedly members of the Bloods.
“There was a big bang, not like the sound of a gun, but it was very terrifying,” said a neighbor in Woodbridge is still too scared to show his face or offer his name.
He says he was woken up by the sounds of the police raid on the apartment upstairs. His family was terrified.
“My wife jumped up and said protect the kids," he said.
There's no answer at the raided apartment now, but there is what appears to be an eviction notice.
Federal agents arrested Tarvell Vandiver, who informants say was a five star general in the United Blood Nation or Bloods.
The ATF says Vandiver and at least 27 other men were involved in scores of shootings, drug deals, and illegal gun sales.
The people arrested in the gang sting were from all across the region. The vast majority were from Woodbridge, where agents arrested 11 people.
There were also arrests in Fredericksburg, Alexandria, and Dale City. Two suspects were picked up D.C., and others were arrested in Maryland in Elkridge, Laurel, Hyattsville, and District Heights.
“I don't have any doubt in my mind that this investigation makes this area safer," said Thomas Chittum, III, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Washington Field Office.
News of the raids blew up on line, in part because people thought the targets were MS-13, and that it was more evidence of the dangers of immigration. But they had the wrong gang.
"This was not MS-13," I asked Chittum. "No, this involved the Bloods street gang, a gang with a long history of violence, drug dealing, and criminal activity."
But for neighbors, it's just a relief.
“Finally good, when the police came,” said the neighbor who did not want to give his name.