Chop Shop, Drugs, Guns Discovered In Fresno

Authorities say they have uncovered a chop shop and large drug operation in East Fresno.

The Fresno Police Department's Career Criminal Auto Theft (C-CAT) Team served a search warrant Wednesday morning at a home on Terrace Avenue near Sierra Vista, not far from the intersection of Maple and Clinton.

Officers say they recovered car parts, about 100 pounds of marijuana, cash and several weapons, including an AK-47.

Five people were arrested at the scene. Police say this operation involved several gangs, and that almost two dozen people are now in custody.

"It's about money, not gang affiliations. It's career criminals looking for ways to make profit and money," said Sgt. Tim Tietjen, with the CCAT Team.

Investigators say they are seeing a direct correlation between car thefts and burglaries. They say the latest trend in residential burglaries involves thieves breaking into homes, taking car keys and driving away with victims' cars and identities.

Sgt. Tietjen says the group in this case may be responsible for up to 80 vehicle and residential burglaries in the last week.

Police say earlier this month, a group of these criminals spent $9,000 in a one-week period using stolen identities.