WEST TRENTON, N.J. (AP) – Officers arrested dozens of members of a notoriously violent street gang in raids across New Jersey Tuesday, capping 11 months of undercover operations.

Agents also charged four gang leaders who authorities said were directing killings and other crimes from inside state prison.

More than 60 people affiliated with the Nine Trey Gangsters, part of the Bloods gang, had been arrested by Tuesday afternoon, and as many as 40 more arrests were expected in cities across the state, including Newark, Trenton and Atlantic City, authorities said.

The targets represent more than a third of the gang’s membership in the state, including several top leaders.

“By taking out the top echelon of this gang, we have struck a powerful blow for the people of New Jersey and particularly those communities caught in the crossfire of gang violence,” said New Jersey Attorney General Zulima Farber.

The suspects face racketeering, extortion, money laundering and drug distribution charges.

State Police Superintendent Col. Rick Fuentes called the operation the biggest in state history, both in the number of gang members arrested and the impact on the gang. A similar operation targeting the Latin Kings a couple of years ago took up to 60 gang members off the streets, “and they still haven’t recovered,” he said.

Fuentes described the Nine Treys, also known as 9-3, as the “most violent and fear-invoking” of the state’s street gangs. The gang dealt in narcotics and weapons trafficking, extortion and assault, and its members are believed responsible for an unspecified number of murders and drive-by shootings, he said.

Authorities said David “Duke” Allen, 32, of Newark, allegedly continued to direct gang activity from inside New Jersey State Prison. Authorities said he ordered hits on fellow gang members from prison.

“They found a way of getting information to their intermediaries,” Fuentes said. “They were able to continue the information flow.”

Investigators had infiltrated the gang during the investigation, though agency representatives would not say how because the investigation is ongoing.

During the raids, police seized heroin, crack cocaine, marijuana and guns. The sweep involved 500 state and federal law enforcement officers.

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