MODESTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced the arrest of 28 individuals as part of an effort to dismantle alleged Norteño street gang activity in Stanislaus County. In coordination with the Modesto Police Department, the operation resulted in the seizure of $15,950 and 21 firearms.
This joint effort is part of a multi-agency operation known as Operation Red Desert, which was the product of a six-month investigation that began in February 2019. The complaint, filed by the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office, contains charges of alleged criminal activity including: conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit kidnapping and robbery, attempted murder, drug trafficking, firearms violations, and gang enhancements.
“Individuals who engage in criminal activity and sow fear in our communities must be brought to justice,” said Attorney General Xavier Becerra. “California law enforcement will continue working together day and night to stop violent, dangerous behavior and keep our communities safe."
“I am extremely proud of the tremendous effort put forward by all the allied law enforcement agencies in this task force in bringing these criminals to justice,” said Stanislaus County District Attorney Birgit Fladager.
“This is an excellent example of the California Department of Justice and California Highway Patrol Special Operations Unit working together with local agencies to combat violent crime and gangs in our community,” said Modesto Police Department Chief Galen Carroll.
In the past few months, Stanislaus County has experienced an increase in unsolved homicides and robberies. The criminal activity is believed to be gang-related and to possibly involve members of the Norteño gang. This operation is the result of a collective effort by the California Department of Justice and California Highway Patrol Special Operations Unit, the Modesto Police Department, and the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office. The investigation has led to the prevention of multiple planned robberies.
The 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.
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.