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October 21, 2011 > More than 100 arrests in five-county undercover gang operation

More than 100 arrests in five-county undercover gang operation

Submitted By Office of the State Attorney General

On October 14, 2011, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced the arrests of 104 individuals, the majority of whom are gang members with prior felony convictions, after an 18-month investigation by California Department of Justice agents.

The California DOJ agents, along with 150 law enforcement personnel from local, state and federal agencies, made the arrests over the preceding three days for crimes that include the sale of drugs, firearms and stolen property and vehicles in Alameda, Santa Clara, San Benito, Monterey and Santa Cruz counties.

"After noticing an increase in crime, Gilroy officials asked for help to dismantle a gang network that had set up shop in their town," Harris said. "DOJ agents are uniquely suited to perform the undercover work vital to building complex, multi-jurisdictional cases like this one. This community is safer because of their hard work and their partnerships with federal and local law enforcement."

As part of the operation, undercover Department of Justice agents purchased drugs, firearms and stolen property and vehicles from gang members and others with prior felony convictions.

To date, the operation has seized more than three pounds of methamphetamine, 28.5 grams of heroin, four ounces of cocaine, 34 ecstasy tablets, 10 oxycontin pills, 44 firearms, 81 stolen vehicles and stolen property.

State charges include auto theft, possession of stolen property, gun charges, burglary, sales of narcotics (heroin, cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy) and gang enhancements. Some suspects are also being arrested on federal indictments.

Earlier this year, Harris announced the break-up of several gangs in the Central Valley, including the arrest of 101 leaders and members of two transnational gangs operating violent criminal enterprises in Madera, Los Banos, Livingston, Merced, Atwater and Dos Palos.

Nuestra Familia is one of seven prison gangs in the state. Through top-down leadership, Nuestra Familia controls illegal activities inside several prisons, as well as most of the Nortenos gangs who operate in central California - from Yuba City to Bakersfield and from Salinas to the Sierra foothills. Through links to drug trafficking organizations in Mexico, these gangs move drugs, guns and human beings across the border and into communities throughout California.

The California Department of Justice, Unified Narcotic Enforcement Team (UNET) and the San Jose Regional Office were the lead investigative agencies and were supported by the Gilroy Police Department, California Highway Patrol, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Santa Clara District Attorney's Office and the United States Attorney's Office - Northern District.

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