Spanish police have detained 33 youths, including 13 minors, in Madrid suspected of belonging to two different Latin American street gangs, they said Tuesday.
Police detained 22 suspected members of a gang called Blood, which has its origins in the United States and which up until very recently was hardly active in Spain, a police statement said.
The group included the alleged leader of the gang.
They also arrested 11 suspected members of another gang called Dominican Don't Play who allegedly took part in the beating of a minor leaving him with serious injuries to his legs and one arm, the statement added.
"With these operations, investigators have given a significant blow against Latino gangs operating in the Spanish capital," the statement said.
Police seized machetes, knives, screwdrivers and baseball bats embedded with dozens of nails during searches of the suspects' homes.
"The Blood were born in the United States in the 1970s. They started by imitating other Latino bands that existed there like the Latin Kings or the Netas and then they came to Spain," a police spokesman said.
The suspects include Bolivian, Colombians, Ecuadorian, Spanish and Dominican nationals, the spokesman added.
They are suspected of armed robbery, making threats and membership in a criminal group.
Last week police detained around 30 youths in Barcelona in an operation against a gang called the Black Dominican Panthers which specialised in drug trafficking.
Latin American gangs emerged in the United States decades ago. They have gained ground in Spain over the past decade due to a sharp rise in immigration from Latin America.