LATINO PERSPECTIVE--More than 300 law enforcement personnel swept an area east of Los Angeles in an operation targeting two Latino gangs that resulted in 52 arrests and the seizure of drugs with a street value of $1.6 million, California's Attorney General's Office said in a statement.
Police seized 67 firearms, including assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons, as well as $100,000 in cash and quantities of methamphetamines, cocaine and marijuana, in Thursday's raids in Riverside County.
"The large amounts of narcotics, currency, and most importantly, the large cache of weapons seized, will no doubt disrupt the criminal gangs' enterprise, thus making our communities that much safer," the police chief of the city of Corona, Michael Abel, was quoted as saying.
The raids targeted the Corona Varrio Locos gang and the Mexican Mafia, known as "La Eme," a criminal organization that operates throughout the California prison system.
They stemmed from a joint investigation by the Corona Police Department, Riverside County Sheriff's Gang Task Force and the California Department of Justice's Bureau of Investigation Special Operations Unit Southern California team.
"Criminal gangs brazenly trafficking guns and drugs on our streets jeopardize public safety and will not be tolerated," said California Attorney General Kamela Harris.
The Mexican Mafia controls the drug trade and conducts other illicit activity in state correctional facilities and elsewhere, according to public safety officials.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, or CDCR, assisted with the investigations and seizures inside the state prison system, where some of the criminal organizations continue their illegal activities.
"A strong blow has been dealt to the Mexican Mafia that's constantly working to extend their criminal enterprise in this region," Derrick Marion, the chief of the CDCR's Office of Correctional Safety, said.
The Corona Varrio Locos street gang operates in the city of Corona and surrounding areas of the Inland Empire, a region of Southern California, and is affiliated with the Sureños, a Southern California gang that in turn takes orders from La Eme, the state AG's office said.
Criminal activity has been going up in the Los Angeles area recently, but because of these actions by law enforcement our communities are a little less dangerous today.