updated 12/8/2008 4:13:49 PM ET 2008-12-08T21:13:49

Los Angeles prosecutors have filed California's first lawsuit seeking to seize homes, businesses and other assets from known gang members.

City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo said the lawsuit was filed Monday against nine leaders of the 18th Street gang to cripple their criminal enterprises. All the defendants are serving prison time.

Delgadillo 18th Street is the largest gang in Los Angeles.

A state law passed earlier this year allows cities to sue for the financial damage gangs cause communities. Only gangs already targeted with restraining orders declaring their behavior a nuisance can be sued.

Damages gained from any lawsuits would be funneled back to the neighborhoods.

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