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Fight Against Transnational Gangs
SAN FRANCISCO – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the takedown of a transnational criminal organization based in Contra Costa County, including the arrest of 22 individuals and the seizure of 500 pounds of methamphetamine and over $700,000 in U.S. Currency.
The takedown, named Operation Road Trip, represents the culmination of several related investigations targeting California-based Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTO) connected to Mexico’s Sinaloa Federation drug cartel. These investigations, which were led by California Department of Justice task forces that include federal, state and local law enforcement partners, have to date, resulted in 67 arrests and the seizure of $40 million of methamphetamine and $1.82 million in U.S. Currency over the past six years.
“This operation demonstrates our continuing commitment to focus on the connection between transnational criminal organizations and organized street gangs in California,” Attorney General Harris said. “We will do whatever is necessary with our federal and local partners to dismantle these violent, insidious organizations.”
California Department of Justice To Form New L.A. Anti-Methamphetamine Team with $1 Million Federal Grant
SACRAMENTO – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced that the California Department of Justice will create a new anti-methamphetamine team of Special Agents based in Los Angeles funded by a $1 million federal grant. Transnational criminal organizations have made California the single biggest point of entry for methamphetamine into the United States, with 70% entering through the San Diego Port of Entry.
“Transnational criminal organizations have made California the largest point of entry for methamphetamine into the United States,” Attorney General Harris said. “This funding supports the California Department of Justice's crackdown on this devastating drug by strengthening our enforcement capabilities."
The California Department of Justice team will be comprised of six Special Agents assigned to investigate illicit activities related to the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine in California. The team will work in a coordinated effort with other existing California Department of Justice task forces including The Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force (LA IMPACT).
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris to Convene Multinational Law Enforcement Summit on Technology and Transnational Crime
SAN FRANCISCO -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris will convene state and federal officials from the U.S., Mexico and El Salvador for a multinational summit focused on the use of technology to fight transnational organized crime. The summit, held in association with the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Western Attorneys General (CWAG), will focus on human trafficking, intellectual property violations and money laundering.
“Transnational criminal organizations are increasingly using sophisticated networks and technology to commit crimes against the people of California, the United States, and globally,” Attorney General Harris said. “This summit will build on the partnership we forged in Mexico City this March to combat the increased use of social media in human trafficking and disrupt money laundering schemes in the U.S.-Mexico border region. I want to thank my colleagues and international partners for joining me to address this serious issue.”
Attendees at the summit, the 2014 CWAG Alliance Partnership Binational State Attorney General Exchange, include U.S. state attorneys general, U.S. federal officials, Mexico Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam, El Salvador Attorney General Luis Martinez, and Mexico state attorneys general.
SAN BERNARDINO – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the arrest of two individuals suspected of operating a methamphetamine conversion lab in San Bernardino County. Agents with a California Department of Justice task force and detectives with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department seized a total of 206 lbs. of crystal methamphetamine and 250 gallons of liquid methamphetamine, which is capable of producing 1,250 lbs. of crystal methamphetamine. The street value of the methamphetamine seized is estimated at $7.2 million.
“Methamphetamine is one of the most toxic drugs available, destroying the bodies and minds of countless people,” Attorney General Harris said. “California is the national epicenter of its trafficking and distribution, so I have made it a priority of the California Department of Justice’s task forces to stop those who would sell and manufacture this debilitating drug. This bust significantly reduces the amount of methamphetamine on our streets, and I thank the agents and partners who worked collaboratively to seize these drugs.”
Agents and detectives arrested Jorge Valdez, 34, and Miguel Angel Sanchez, 24, of Hinkley. Both were booked at the San Bernardino County Jail and are currently being held on $1,000,000 bail each. Both are charged with two felony counts each for the manufacture and possession for sale of methamphetamine and are being prosecuted by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office.
MERCED -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the arrest of 51 individuals associated with a Central Valley-based gang and narcotics trafficking organization and the seizure of methamphetamine, ecstasy, cocaine, marijuana and firearms.
“Drug traffickers have built sophisticated alliances and distribution networks that stretch across state and national borders that require a coordinated law enforcement response,” Attorney General Harris said. “This seizure highlights the importance of cross agency collaboration and the need to support the state task forces that make this work happen. I thank our local, state and federal partners for their ongoing commitment to fighting this serious threat.”
The 51 defendants are charged with conspiracy, weapons violations, gang enhancements, and possession, transportation, distribution and sale of methamphetamine.
FRESNO -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the arrest of eleven individuals associated with a Central Valley-based narcotics trafficking organization and the seizure of over $200,000 in cash and drugs including over 50 lbs. of methamphetamine and nearly 1,000 marijuana plants.
"Transnational drug traffickers aren't troubled by the details of law enforcement jurisdictions or government borders, and neither should our enforcement efforts,” Attorney General Harris said. “My California Department of Justice Task Force worked closely with local, state and federal law enforcement officials throughout the Central Valley to dismantle the Magana organization. Our success shows the pressing need for more collaboration and funding to fight transnational drug trafficking in California.”
Defendants Jose Magana, Manuel Munoz and Juan Parra were arrested on March 4, 2014, defendant John DeWayne Young was arrested on November 10, 2013 and defendant Ana Valero was arrested on March 11, 2014, all in Tulare County. Defendants Erwin Alva, Rosemary Alvarez, Ernesto Carrillo and Christopher Pellegrin were arrested on March 4, 2014 in Riverside County. They are charged with thirteen felony counts including possession, transportation and sale of a controlled substance, prohibited possession of ammunition, and conspiracy. All are currently being held in Tulare County Jail and are being prosecuted by the Tulare County District Attorney. Alva, Alvarez, Carrillo, Munoz, Pellegrin and Valero are being held on $500,000 bail, Magana and Parra are being held without bail and Young is being held on $3 million bail.
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, U.S. State Attorneys General Sign Anti-Money Laundering Cooperation Agreement with Mexico
MEXIO CITY -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and four other state attorneys general today signed a letter of intent with the National Banking and Securities Commission of Mexico to establish a bi-national working group on money laundering enforcement. The delegation of U.S. state attorneys general is in Mexico to strengthen working relationships with governments of both countries and enhance efforts to combat transnational crime.
"The laundering of money fuels transnational criminal organizations and threatens California's economy and our public safety," Attorney General Harris said. "This bi-national agreement will create the cooperation and communication needed to disrupt the financing of transnational crime. I want to thank my colleagues and the Mexican government for their steadfast commitment to addressing this serious issue."
Last week, Attorney General Harris issued a report, Gangs Beyond Borders: California and the Fight Against Transnational Organized Crime, that identified California as a key portal for the transfer of illicit money. According to the report, transnational criminal organizations transfer billions of dollars out of the U.S. through California. As much as $40 billion in illicit funds were laundered in the state in 2012.
FRESNO – Agents from a California Department of Justice task force joined with California Highway Patrol and federal investigators Thursday night to seize 176 pounds of crystal methamphetamine during the execution of a search warrant at a Madera home. The seizure is one of the largest methamphetamine caches uncovered in the Central Valley.
“Methamphetamine is a very serious threat to California’s public health and safety, and is frequently trafficked by transnational criminal organizations,” Attorney General Harris said. “This seizure highlights the importance of strong collaboration between the California Department of Justice and local, state and federal partners to dismantle these organizations and keep our communities safe.”
Thursday night’s seizure came just hours after Attorney General Harris issued the first comprehensive report analyzing the current state of transnational criminal organizations in California and the threats they pose to the state’s public safety and economy. The report estimates that Mexican organized crime groups smuggle an estimated 70 percent of the foreign-produced U.S. supply of methamphetamine through California’s border crossings. View the report here: https://oag.ca.gov/transnational-organized-crime.
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Issues Comprehensive Report on Transnational Organized Crime in California
LOS ANGELES - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today issued the first comprehensive report analyzing the current state of transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) in California and the threats they pose to the state’s public safety and economy. The report also sets forth recommendations to combat the increasingly complex issue of transnational organized crime in California.
“The growth of transnational criminal organizations seriously threatens California’s safety and economic well-being,” Attorney General Harris said. “State and local law enforcement officers are on the front lines of this fight every day. Our response must include sustained funding for their work and strong coordination at all levels of government.”
This new report, Gangs Beyond Borders: California and the Fight Against Transnational Organized Crime, addresses the three emerging pillars of transnational criminal activity: the trafficking of drugs, weapons and human beings; money laundering; and high-tech crimes, such as digital piracy, hacking and fraud.
SAN YSIDRO -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris was joined by San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officials to tour the San Ysidro Port of Entry (POE)— the busiest land border crossing in the Western Hemisphere and a hotspot for the importation of illegal narcotics.
"California’s proximity to Latin America fuels our economy but makes us a target for transnational crime,” Attorney General Harris said. “The San Ysidro Port of Entry is vital to California's commerce and our fight against transnational criminal organizations—but a smart response must look past our state border. For this reason I am leading a bipartisan delegation of state attorneys general to Mexico to strengthen cross border coordination and communication."
Attorney General Harris’ tour of the U.S.-Mexico border comes a week before she will lead a delegation of state attorneys general to Mexico to strengthen working relationships between government officials in both countries and enhance efforts to combat transnational crime.
SACRAMENTO -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the sentencing of three defendants in a human trafficking ring in which women from Mexico were used as prostitutes in five Northern California cities.
Nery Najarro-Rodriguez, 42, Jorge Perez-Hernandez, 37, and Luis Mata, 30, pled no contest to conspiracy to commit pimping and pandering as part of a multi-county investigation. The defendants were each sentenced in Sacramento County Superior Court to three years in county jail.
The charges stemmed from an extensive FBI investigation into a human trafficking network that spanned several northern California counties. Young women, ages 21 to 30, were trafficked from Mexico and sold for sex to as many as 20 clients in a single day. The sex acts occurred in brothels identified in Chico, Stockton, Yuba City, Fairfield and Sacramento.
California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and Mexico Attorney General Marisela Morales Ibáñez Announce Accord to Strengthen Cross-Border Investigations and Prosecutions of Human Trafficking
LOS ANGELES -- California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and Mexico Attorney General Marisela Morales Ibáñez today signed an accord to expand prosecutions and secure convictions of criminals who engage in the trafficking of human beings.
The accord will increase coordination of law enforcement resources targeting transnational gangs that engage in the sale and trafficking of human beings across the California-Mexico border. The accord calls for closer integration on human trafficking investigations between the two offices and the sharing of best practices for law enforcement to recognize instances of human trafficking and provide support and services to victims. Prosecutors from the two offices today held the second of a series of meetings to implement the initiative.
"California and Mexico are together taking steps to disrupt and dismantle the criminal networks that traffic human beings into our state as if they were just another commodity," said Attorney General Harris. "Targeting transnational gangs is a vital component of our efforts to protect public safety in California."
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Seizure of 18 Pounds of Methamphetamine and Assault Rifles from Suspected Cartel Associates
MORENO VALLEY -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the arraignment of two men who were arrested in possession of 18 pounds of methamphetamine, as well as four handguns, three assault rifles and a .50 caliber sniper rifle. The individuals are believed to be associates of the La Familia cartel in Michoacan, Mexico.
“The fight against transnational gangs continues to be a priority for the California Department of Justice,” said Attorney General Kamala D. Harris. “These arrests are another example of the hard work and dedication of our agents in the continued effort to stop the trafficking of guns, drugs and human beings throughout our state.”
Jesus Espinoza, 25, of San Diego and Jose Manuel Guizar-Gaytan, 25, of Mexico, were arraigned today in Riverside County Superior Court on two felony counts each of possession of methamphetamine for sale and possession of methamphetamine with a loaded firearm and three felony counts each of possession of an assault weapon, possession of an assault rifle and possession of any .50 BMG (sniper) rifle. Both defendants pled not guilty, and bail was set at $500,000 for each.
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Seizure of $1.1 Million Worth of Methamphetamine in Sinaloa Cartel Drug Bust
RIVERSIDE -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the arraignment of four men who attempted to sell 25 pounds of methamphetamine with a street value of more than $1.1 million to an undercover task force agent. The narcotics are believed to have been imported from the Sinaloa cartel in Mexico.
“Transnational gangs are a real and present danger in California and a priority for Department of Justice agents,” said Attorney General Kamala D. Harris. “We must continue and extend our crackdown on these transnational gangs and their trafficking of guns, drugs and human beings throughout our state.”
Juan Martin Ramirez, 22, of Inglewood, Carlos Javier Martinez-Sequeira, 43, and Jose Manuel Chaidez, 25, of Hawthorne, and Jesus Manuel Landeros, 42, of Phoenix, Arizona were arraigned today in Riverside County Superior Court on two felony counts of possession of methamphetamine for sale and transportation of a controlled substance. All four defendants pled not guilty, and bail was set for each at $1 million.
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Results of Multi-agency Operation Targeting Bay Area Heroin Trafficking Ring
SAN JOSE -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced the arrest of 12 individuals involved in a Bay Area heroin trafficking ring by the Department of Justice-led South Bay Metro Task Force and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations (ICE HSI).
State and federal investigators arrested 12 suspects and seized 9 guns and small amounts of marijuana and methamphetamine today, as a result of a long-term investigation called “Operation Middle Man.”
The execution of the search and arrest warrants today marks the culmination of a two and half year investigation dubbed “Operation Middle Man” because the initial targets identified during the case were found to be mid-level operatives. Those suspects ultimately led authorities to Carlos Jose Moreno, the suspected head of a transnational criminal drug trafficking organization.
SAN FRANCISCO — Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced today the arrest of 30 gang members in the Tracy area.
The arrests come one day after Attorney General Harris announced the arrests of 101 leaders and members of two transnational gangs operating violent criminal enterprises in the Central Valley cities of Madera, Los Banos, Livingston, Merced, Atwater and Dos Palos.
"Today the Department of Justice delivered another blow to the criminal gangs that have been making inroads into California's Central Valley," said Attorney General Harris. "The arrests we have made over the past few days send a message to the individuals who are bringing drugs and guns into our communities. This conduct will receive swift and certain consequences."
Press conference of Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announcing dozens of arrests in major central valley gang takedown
LOS BANOS — Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced the arrests of 101 leaders and members of two transnational gangs operating violent criminal enterprises in the Central Valley cities of Madera, Los Banos, Livingston, Merced, Atwater and Dos Palos.
"As transnational gangs traffic crime into California, we must counter their ruthlessness with our resolve," said Attorney General Harris. "The arrest of dozens of transnational gang leaders and members frees California from a significant criminal threat."
The operation, code-named "Red Zone," was led by Attorney General Harris' Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement office in Fresno. It is the latest in a series of actions the Attorney General has taken against transnational gangs.
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Sweep of Northern California Gang With 23 Arrests and Seizure of Drugs, Guns and Cash
SAN FRANCISCO — Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced the successful conclusion of a major law enforcement sweep that shut down a father-and-son-led criminal operation connected to violent transnational and prison gangs that dealt in narcotics and firearms in Butte, Glenn, Sacramento, Placer and Yuba counties.
"As long as violent gangs continue to wreak havoc up and down California," Attorney General Harris said, "my office will continue to partner with local law enforcement to shut them down and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law."
As part of an operation code-named "Mario Brothers," a joint task force of more than 200 local, state and federal law enforcement agents led by Attorney General Harris' Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement concluded an investigation into a drug-dealing ring with connections to the criminal street gang known as the Nortenos, which has ties to the vicious prison gang Nuestra Familia.
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Takedown of Contra Costa Gangs that Nets 35 Arrests and More Than 135 Pounds of Meth
SAN FRANCISCO — Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the successful conclusion of Operation Red Reach, a coordinated law enforcement sweep that shut down a network of local and transnational gangs that dealt in narcotics and firearms, homicide and fraud in western Contra Costa County and nearby areas.
"We are fighting transnational gangs from one end of California to another," Attorney General Harris said. "With the cooperation of local and federal law enforcement agencies, we're going to outmuscle, outsmart and undo them."
San Pablo Police Chief Walt Schuld added: "Exceptional collaboration among the California Department of Justice, local law enforcement, and the FBI has resulted in the successful dismantling of this violent street gang involved in high-level drug and gun trafficking. Our community is much safer due to the tireless efforts of the agents and officers."
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Testifies in Support of Bills Strengthening Her Crackdown on Transnational Gangs in California
SACRAMENTO — Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today testified in a state Senate committee in support of a pair of bills that will assist her efforts to fight transnational gangs that are fueled by gun violence and the drug trade.
One of the bills, SB 819 by Sen. Mark Leno of San Francisco, would dedicate funding to a unique California program that confiscates firearms from people legally barred from possessing them, including convicted felons and persons determined to be mentally unstable. The state Department of Justice, Bureau of Firearms estimates there are 18,615 armed prohibited persons possessing 34,708 handguns and 1,579 assault weapons in the state.
The second bill, SB 315 by Sen. Roderick Wright of Inglewood, would make products containing pseudoephedrine - a key ingredient in the illegal manufacture of methamphetamine - available only by prescription.
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces New Multi-Agency Task Force Targeting Drug Gangs in the Central Valley
Press conference of Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announcing the creation of a new task force in Tulare
TULARE — Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the creation of a multi-agency gang task force in the Central Valley. The task force includes representatives from the California Department of Justice, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the Tulare Sheriff's Department and the Visalia, Porterville and Tulare police departments. It will focus on investigating and arresting criminal gang members.
"With the creation of this task force, the Department of Justice is better positioned to assist and support Central Valley law enforcement as they strive to combat criminal gangs that are gaining footholds in local jurisdictions. These criminals operate without respect to city and county boundaries and it's incumbent upon us to combine our efforts to defeat them," Attorney General Harris said. "In light of the state's budget crisis, greater collaboration between state and local law enforcement agencies also makes sound fiscal sense."
The creation of the task force is part of the Attorney General's broader effort to use the weight of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to convene and support local law enforcement in combating transnational gangs throughout the state. Attorney General Harris made the announcement during the first in a series of region-by-region zone meetings attended by members of the law enforcement community from Merced, Mariposa, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Kern counties.
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Joins State Leaders to Tour Border and Explore Multi-Agency Crackdown on Transnational Gangs
IMPERIAL — Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced today the addition of four Department of Justice special agents to a multi-agency task force in Imperial County that targets the activities of transnational gangs, from street level crime to major international conspiracies.
"Violent gangs don't respect borders any more than they respect the law," Attorney General Harris said, "but the collaborative efforts of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies have already made great strides in combating gang-related crimes along the border. My office is committed to doing whatever it takes to protect the citizens of California from gang violence and drug-running."
Organized gangs represent a serious public safety threat in California and their crimes - from drug dealing to gun violence to premeditated murder - reverberate throughout the state.
SACRAMENTO — On the eve of her trip to a crime-plagued border region of California, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today released the 2009-2010 annual report for CAL WRAP, a program that provides millions of dollars for the relocation of witnesses in cases that send gang members to prison for committing violent crimes including murder, rape, and kidnapping.
The California Witness Relocation and Assistance Program, or CAL WRAP, demonstrates a close collaboration between the Attorney General's Bureau of Investigation and Intelligence, which runs the program, and local District Attorneys, who prosecute the cases and relocate witnesses. Thirty-three District Attorneys around the state participated last year.
In the last fiscal year ending in July, the program provided $4,636,300 in reimbursements to local District Attorneys for 870 witness relocation cases. That included 375 new cases, of which 304 (or 81 percent) were gang related. The new cases involved 418 witnesses and 689 family members.
White Supremacist Gang Members Arrested for Smuggling Heroin Secreted in the Glue Strips of Envelopes into Susanville State Prison
YUBA CITY — Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced today the arrests of five members of a white supremacist gang based in Yuba County. The gang members were arrested on charges of smuggling heroin into Susanville State Prison in the glue strips of letters mailed to inmates associated with the "New Order" gang.
Each glue strip contained nearly one gram of heroin, which is worth about $500 inside prison - five times its street value. According to arrest documents, the drug shipments were used as barter or to curry favor with other white supremacist inmates from groups such as the Aryan Nation or Nazi Low Riders.
"Today's operation demonstrates the criminal ingenuity of inmates and their associates outside of prison walls," Attorney General Harris said. "This operation successfully attacked the criminal activity at its root. To ensure the safety of our neighborhoods and law enforcement officers, we must be vigilant about combating gang activity wherever it occurs."