Sweep targets street gang directed from prison
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