More than 100 accused California gang members arrested

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 08, 2011 5:09 PM
More than 100 accused California gang members arrested

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - More than 100 central California gang members accused of using violence and dealing drugs have been arrested in a major crackdown, authorities said on Wednesday.

Seventy-five alleged gang members were arrested on Tuesday, and 26 were taken into custody during the course of an investigation that lasted several months, said Michelle Gregory, spokeswoman for California Attorney General Kamala Harris.

The operation, which targeted the Nuestra Familia and Norteno gangs, was led by the California Attorney General's office, with help from local police and federal agents.

The gang sweep occurred in the agricultural Central Valley of California, in the cities of Madera, Los Banos, Livingston, Merced, Atwater and Dos Palos.

Charges brought against those arrested range from attempted murder to conspiracy to distribute drugs, Gregory said.

Eight of those arrested were charged with drug trafficking in a federal indictment unsealed on Wednesday, said Benjamin Wagner, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California.

Those individuals face a minimum sentence of five years in prison if they are convicted.

As part of the crackdown, authorities seized six pounds of marijuana, 34 marijuana plants, over two pounds of methamphetamines and dozens of firearms, Gregory said.

The Nuestra Familia gang controls illegal activities in several prisons and also directs most of the Norteno gangs in central California, authorities said.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Dan Whitcomb)