The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office and multiple other agencies announced the arrests of 25 MS-13 gang members.
The gang members were arrested on federal and state charges in connection with their gang activities, including assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering and conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances.
A live news conference was held Friday at the Federal Building in downtown Fresno.
The charges were announced by U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott, Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division Brian Benczkowski, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Special Agent in Charge Sean Ragan of the FBI’s Sacramento Field Office, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Ryan L. Spradlin, Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp, and Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims.
The investigation began after reports that MS-13 had established a presence in the City of Mendota in Fresno County.
Investigators found evidence of broad criminal activity, including murder, assault, firearms possession and drug trafficking activity.
Fresno County Sheriff Mims said, “This multi-agency operation will result in the disruption of MS-13 activity across the Nation. I appreciate the cooperation of all agencies involved to work together to help dismantle this extremely violent transnational gang. I am confident that our work will restore a stronger sense of safety for people living in the communities these gang members have been terrorizing.”
As part of this operation, 19 federal and four state search warrants were served in Mendota, Kerman, and Los Angeles. Guns, knives, and machetes were found and seized as a result of these searches. Additionally, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation conducted searches of 37 cells in 11 state prisons in California on individuals related to this investigation. Among the items seized in the prisons were cellphones, drugs and weapons.
The investigation was conducted by the California Department of Justice and California Highway Patrol Special Operations Unit, the Multi-Agency Gang Enforcement Consortium (MAGEC), the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Special Services Unit (SSU). The CHP Special Operations Unit is a collaborative investigative effort between the California Department of Justice and California Highway Patrol that provides statewide enforcement to combat violent career criminals, gangs, and organized crime groups, along with intrastate drug traffickers.
Assisting in the arrests were the U.S. Marshals Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Clovis Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kimberly A. Sanchez, Kathleen A. Servatius, Ross Pearson, Angela Scott; Trial Attorney Marianne Shelvey from the Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Organized Crime and Gang Section; and Fresno County Senior Deputy District Attorney Dennis Lewis are handling the prosecutions.