Joint Investigation Results in the Arrest of 51 Suspected Gang Members Throughout California’s Central Coast
JUL 23 - (LOS ANGELES) – Timothy J. Landrum, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Los Angeles Field Division, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown and Santa Maria Police Chief Danny Macagni announce the culmination of a joint investigation that resulted in the arrest of 51 suspected gang members and their associates with ties to drug trafficking throughout the Central Coast of California.
Timothy J. Landrum, DEA Special Agent in Charge stated, “Criminal street gangs are the primary retail distributors of illegal drugs on the streets of our communities. The threat is magnified by the high levels of violence associated with their attempts to control and expand drug distribution operations. DEA will continue to work with our law enforcement counterparts to ensure that these drug gangs will no longer wreak havoc in our communities.”
Since November 2009, the DEA, Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department and Santa Maria Police Department have been conducting a joint investigation targeting the drug trafficking activities of street gangs throughout the Central Coast of California. The investigation identified eight Sureno Gangs involved in various criminal activities, to include the distribution of narcotics. These street gangs are: West Park, North West, Tangas 13, Guadalup 13, Nipomo 13, Oceano 13, 12 th Street Locos and Colonia Chiques.
The investigation also resulted in the seizure of more than 19 pounds of methamphetamine, a methamphetamine conversion laboratory, 1.5 kilograms of cocaine, small amounts of crack cocaine, 25 pounds of marijuana, 35 firearms, to include assault rifles and pipe bombs, $800,000 in U. S. currency and property, which included a Porsche Panamera with an estimated value of $95,000.
Between July 13 and July 21, 2010, the investigation concluded with approximately 40 officers and agents from multiple law enforcement agencies conducting search warrants at 15 locations in Santa Maria, Tanglewood, San Jose and Stanton, California, which resulted in the arrest of 8 individuals and complaints are expected to be sought against 8 more.
In May 2010, more than 140 officers and agents participated in the initial enforcement phase of this investigation conducting more than 40 search warrants and arresting 29 individuals on various charges including conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana, street terrorism and firearms violations.
Lieutenant Sonny LeGault, Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department, Narcotics Bureau stated, “Our narcotics detectives are seeing a rise in meth use here in Santa Barbara County. But make no mistake, this is not a local problem, it's a global problem. That's why it's so important for law enforcement agencies to work together. When we do, drug traffickers find out the hard way what happens when they try to move their deadly products through California, Santa Barbara County and the cities within.”
Sgt. Greg Carroll, Santa Maria Police Department, stated, “This is the third joint investigation between the Santa Maria PD, Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department and the DEA, and it is a great example of the continued success achieved in these joint operations.”
Deputy District Attorney Meghan Ross stated, “This investigation is a prime example of agencies working together to investigate and prosecute the distribution of methamphetamine by Sureno gang affiliates in our community.”
This case is being prosecuted by Santa Barbara Deputy District Attorney Meghan Ross.