Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Takedown of Stockton Criminal Street Gangs ‘Westside Bloods’ and ‘Taliban’
STOCKTON — Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the successful takedown of two criminal street gangs in the Stockton area, following a joint investigation and operation by the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Investigation Special Operations Unit (SOU) and the Stockton Police Department’s Gang Violence Suppression unit.
The joint operation, named Operation Bloodline, resulted in the seizure of 22 illegal firearms, $12,000 in currency, and 41 pounds of marijuana; as well as the arrests of 52 individuals on felony crimes.
The investigation found that ‘Westside Bloods’ and ‘Taliban’ gangs have been illegally purchasing firearms and are responsible for numerous armed robberies and shootings in the Stockton area, including a recent triple homicide.
Several attempted murders and robberies were solved or circumvented as a result of the investigation.
“Members of these two street gangs have terrorized the Stockton community and escalated violence and the proliferation of illegal guns in the city. Today, the California Department of Justice, the California Highway Patrol and the Stockton Police Department have made significant strides toward dismantling these groups and increasing safety in Stockton,” said Attorney General Harris. “I want to thank our DOJ Special Agents and the dedicated officers of the Stockton Police Department and the California Highway Patrol for their incredible efforts in this case.”
“We identified two groups, through an Operation Ceasefire analysis, who were significant security threats to our community based upon documented shootings, murders and attempted murders, in 2015,” said Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones. “I would like to thank everyone involved for assisting with the ongoing efforts to disrupt and dismantle criminal street gangs in and around the City of Stockton.”
Stockton and surrounding areas suffer from high rates of homicides and other gun crimes, with 44 homicides reported in Stockton in 2015 and 14 homicides to date in 2016.
The Special Operations Unit (SOU) is a collaborative investigative effort between the California Department of Justice and the California Highway Patrol (CHP) that provides statewide enforcement for combating violent career criminals, gangs, and organized crime groups, along with intrastate drug traffickers.
In 2014, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and California Highway Patrol Commissioner Joe Farrow worked with the Legislature and Governor Brown’s administration to secure $9.4 million for California DOJ Bureau of Investigation’s SOU teams. These unique and essential teams use the latest technology and advanced investigative techniques and work alongside local law enforcement to enhance investigations into violent criminals and organized crime throughout the state.
In 2015, the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Investigation, Special Operations Unit arrested 329 individuals and seized over $249,000 in cash, eight stolen vehicles, 146 pounds of methamphetamine, 20 pounds of heroin, 12.2 pounds of cocaine, 131 pounds of marijuana and 196 firearms (126 handguns, 38 rifles, 15 shotguns and 17 assault weapons).