Sweep tar­gets street gang directed from prison

Imperial Valley Press - - LOCAL & REGION -

SACRA­MENTO (AP) — Au­thor­i­ties ar­rested 31 peo­ple Wed­nes­day who they said are con­nected to a vi­o­lent, drug-run­ning multi-state street gang directed from in­side one of Cal­i­for­nia’s most no­to­ri­ous pris­ons.

The mas­sive sweep by more than 750 law en­force­ment fed­eral, state and lo­cal of­fi­cers net­ted 29 sus­pects on drug and weapons charges across 10 North­ern Cal­i­for­nia coun­ties.

Two others were ar­rested in Pitts­burgh and the Med­ford, Ore­gon, area.

The op­er­a­tion was directed by two in­mate mem­bers of the North­ern Struc­ture prison gang who used smug­gled cell­phones to com­mu­ni­cate from in­side Pel­i­can Bay State Prison, fed­eral and state of­fi­cials said. The in­mates directed a sub­group of the Norteno street gang that grew in Wood­land, west of Sacra­mento, in re­cent years. Both are af­fil­i­ated with the Nues­tra Fa­milia gang. Yolo County Dis­trict At­tor­ney Jeff Reisig called it “a vi­o­lent crim­i­nal street gang that has plagued much of the re­gion and frankly reached across the na­tion.”

“Guns, drugs and violence are the trade­marks of this gang, and mem­bers of this gang have used those guns and weapons to as­sault and kill their en­e­mies and even to kill in­no­cent civil­ians,” he said.

Two mem­bers of the Var­rio Bosque Norteno gang were re­cently sen­tenced to life in prison for fa­tally stab­bing 41-yearold Ron­ald An­to­nio in 2016 when they mis­took him for a ri­val gang mem­ber as they ram­paged through a Wood­land mo­bile home park, he said.

They were con­victed sep­a­rately from Wed­nes­day’s crack­down, in which sus­pects were charged with traf­fick­ing mostly in metham­phetamine and heroin and with il­le­gally pos­sess­ing weapons as ex-felons.

McGre­gor Scott, the United States At­tor­ney for the Eastern Dis­trict of Cal­i­for­nia, dis­cusses the ar­rests of 31 peo­ple he said are con­nected to a vi­o­lent, drug-run­ning multi-state street gang, dur­ing a news con­fer­ence Wed­nes­day in Sacra­mento. AP PHOTO/RICH PE­DRON­CELLI

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