Multi-agency state and federal operation targeted criminal activities of the Norteño gang in Kings County
SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California McGregor Scott, Kings County Sheriff David Robinson, and Hanford Police Chief Parker Sever today announced the execution of a multi-agency operation undertaken to dismantle the Norteño street gangs engaged in criminal activity in Kings and Tulare Counties. The operation resulted in the arrest of 54 individuals and the seizure of 53 firearms and over 36 pounds of drugs.
The joint effort is part of a multi-agency operation known as Red Reaper, the product of a ten-month investigation that began in September 2018. The alleged criminal activities included murder, drug trafficking, robbery, extortion, and the manufacture, trafficking, and possession of illegal firearms.
“The fear and violence that criminal street gangs are perpetrating in our communities cannot be tolerated,” said Attorney General Becerra. “We will continue to collaborate with our federal and local partners to reduce crime and keep our communities safe.”
“This coordinated law enforcement operation highlights how federal, state, and local law enforcement partners can work together to target gang activities that make our communities unsafe,” said U.S. Attorney Scott. “When we work together in this way, we are more effective in achieving our shared goal of ensuring public safety. We are committed to combatting and reducing violent crime and drug trafficking, both inside and outside of prison walls.”
“The Kings County Sheriff’s Office is thrilled at the partnership of all agencies involved and the impact we have made to dismantle this dangerous street gang,” said Kings County Sheriff Robinson.
“The Hanford Police Department would like to thank our federal, state, and local agencies on a successful partnership that has resulted in the culmination of this investigation,” said Hanford Police Chief Sever. “Many people worked countless hours to bring these criminals to justice. Their arrests today will result in a safer community for all of our residents.”
Between 2015 and 2019, the cities of Hanford, Kettleman City, and Avenal in the Central Valley experienced an increase in unsolved homicides. These homicides were believed to be gang-related and to possibly involve members of the Norteño gang. Today’s operation is the result of a collective effort by the California Department of Justice, Special Operations Unit, the California Highway Patrol, the Kings County Sheriff’s Department, the Kings County Major Crimes Task Force, the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department, the Hanford Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the Kings County District Attorney’s Office.
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.