In response to escalating gang violence, Santa Barbara city police conducted searches on the homes of 29 suspected gang members early Tuesday morning. One adult and two juveniles were arrested; the adult was nabbed for possession of nine ounces of cocaine, a .357 handgun, and a .22 rifle. The juveniles were arrested for drugs and graffiti. “When you can show up in the homes of 29 gang members all about the same time, that sends a pretty powerful message,” said police spokesperson Lt. Paul McCaffrey. “And that’s some pretty powerful deterrence.” In addition to the guns and cocaine, McCaffrey said officers confiscated several short baseball bats, crowbars, and other makeshift clubs. In recent weeks, there’ve been a number of gang-related stabbings and fisticuffs, each precipitating retaliatory actions. Police detectives attribute the increase in gang-related violence to the recent release of several older gang veterans from state prison.

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