Attorney General Becerra Announces “West Side Crips” Arrests in Bakersfield
Today’s multi-agency state and federal operation targeted criminal activities of the West Side Crips (WSC) in Bakersfield
BAKERSFIELD – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced the arrest of 49 individuals, the seizure of 26 firearms, 1,928 grams of methamphetamine, and 32 grams of crack cocaine as a part of a multi-agency state and federal takedown of gang members in Bakersfield.
Today’s operation targeted criminal activities of the West Side Crips in Bakersfield. The arrests are a result of a 10-month investigation that began in March 2017. The alleged criminal activities included weapons violations, unlawful possession of a firearm, assault with a deadly weapon, robbery, carjacking, methamphetamine sales, crack cocaine sales, heroin sales, prostitution, and murder.
“This violent gang has killed innocent people and escalated violence in our Bakersfield neighborhoods,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Today’s successful takedown shows that when local, state and federal law enforcement authorities work together to combat violence, we can improve our communities. We are committed to making our neighborhoods safer by prosecuting street gangs to the fullest extent of the law.”
The operation was the product of a joint investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, California Department of Justice, the Bakersfield Police Department, the United States Attorney’s Office, California Highway Patrol, and the Kern County District Attorney’s Office. In addition, to the investigating agencies the following agencies participated in today’s arrests and searches: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), United States Marshals Service, U.S. National Guard, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Fresno Methamphetamine Task Force (FMTF), Merced Area Gang Narcotic Enforcement Team (MAGNET), Madera Narcotic Enforcement Team (MADNET), Tulare Area Regional Gang Enforcement Team (TARGET), Kern County Probation Department, Kern County Sheriff’s Department, Kings County Sheriff’s Office, Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, and Coalinga Police Department.
Bakersfield Police Chief Lyle Martin stated, “This gang has victimized our city through a system of murder and intimidation. We are using the resources of our city, county, state and federal authorities to stop senseless acts of gun violence that are traumatizing and killing our city’s children. This is the enforcement piece to the department’s community-wide approach to addressing gang violence.”
“Violent gangs threaten the safety and well-being of entire communities, blighting the neighborhoods they dwell in and placing lives of innocent bystanders at risk,” said Special Agent in Charge Sean Ragan of the FBI Sacramento Field Office. “The FBI is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to identify, disrupt, and dismantle gangs to protect the public. We also rely on our community relationships in the effort to remove violent gangs from neighborhoods to ensure our region and families have an opportunity to thrive.”
U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert stated: “This operation is another example of how my office has worked closely with our state, local and federal law enforcement partners to combat violent criminal street gangs and their associates. As part of our Project Safe Neighborhood initiative, we are committed to collaborating with these partners to hold accountable those who make our communities unsafe.”
“My office remains dedicated to working with all law enforcement agencies to successfully solve and prosecute the perpetrators of these violent crimes,” said Kern County District Attorney Lisa Green.
It is important to note that a criminal complaint contains charges that are only allegations against a person. Every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.