"Often when dominant players are eliminated through law enforcement, a violent contest for control of a now-open drug market results."

Oliver has been a major focus this year of the city government's efforts to rebuild blighted neighborhoods. Eleven people have been killed since 2010 and 16 wounded in shootings in Oliver, where nearly half of residents live below the poverty line.

In March, the city sent transportation workers into the neighborhood to look for ways to make improvements and deployed public works employees to work with residents on clearing debris and fixing property damages.

Residents were offered health and legal advice, while State's Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein assigned a prosecutor to focus on Oliver crimes. In September, the city razed an entire block of crumbling Lansing Avenue.

A block away from the demolition, SWAT members on Tuesday bashed in a door but did not find a man in his 20s whom Batts called the neighborhood "shot caller" — a BGF member who allegedly ran a small network of neighborhood drug sales.

Maj. Sean Miller, the Special Enforcement Section commander who led Tuesday's raids, said investigators are noticing more incursions by the BGF into new neighborhoods, where he says they are taking over drug territories from independent street dealers or members of other gangs.

Raids police conducted on Rutland Avenue a month ago and along Greenmount Avenue last week show just how prevalent the gang has grown in Baltimore.

"A lot of gang members of different groups go into jail and come out BGF," Miller said.

Many of the arrests Tuesday focused on breaking what Batts called the "bubble": a network of gang members running neighborhood drug corners near the 1600 block of E. Lanvale St.

"Hopefully, we catch them in the morning and snatch them out of their shorts," Batts said.

A few blocks away on North Caroline Street, Oliver resident Darryl Jones said he doesn't think the gang figures much into neighborhood violence.

"People in this neighborhood all get along," said Jones, 54, said as he sat on front steps and smoked. "It's outside people coming in and causing trouble."

Baltimore has a bigger homicide problem, he said, and it isn't isolated to Oliver.

"It's all over the city," he said.

Baltimore Sun reporter Colin Campbell contributed to this article.

jgeorge@baltsun.com

twitter.com/justingeorge