WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) — Members and associates of a Waterbury gang are accused of committing three murders, eight attempted murders, assaults, and drug and gun crimes over the past four years, according to federal grant jury indictments announced Friday.

Federal and local law enforcement officials said a 2 1/2-year investigation into Waterbury-area gangs resulted in a 36-count indictment against 16 members and associates of the 960 gang on racketeering, murder and other charges. Authorities said the probe is ongoing.

“It’s a great relief for me knowing that our streets and our community and the residents here in the city of Waterbury are much safer today after this lengthy this investigation,” Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo said a news conference.

Acting Connecticut U.S. Attorney Leonard Boyle said that a federal grand jury in Hartford returned the indictments Wednesday and that some of the gang members appeared in court Thursday. The remaining defendants will be presented in court over the next two weeks before a federal judge in Bridgeport, he said.

“Members of the 960 gang not only murdered and attempted to murder rival gang members, but also shot and maimed unintended victims whose lives have been forever changed by their reckless behavior,” Boyle said in a statement.

The investigation into escalating violence in the Waterbury area is being conducted by federal and state prosecutors, local police departments, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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