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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    30 arrests, 23 guns and 2 rocket launchers in gang case

    30 arrests, 23 guns and 2 rocket launchers in gang case

    Brett Kelman, The Desert Sun
    5:12 p.m. PDT June 16, 2016




    A nine-month anti-gang effort in Desert Hot Springs led to 30 arrests and the seizure of 23 guns. Jay Calderon, The Desert Sun

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    (Photo: Jay Calderon, The Desert Sun)


    Authorities arrested 22 suspects on Thursday during the final sweep of a nine-month investigation that targeted gangs, guns and drugs in Desert Hot Springs.

    Operation Desert Impact, the latest anti-gang effort in the Coachella Valley, led to the confiscation of 23 weapons – including semi-automatic military-style rifles, sawed-off shotguns and a silenced submachine gun – plus two empty rocket launchers. Most of these guns were bought by undercover police officers during months of investigation, but the final few were seized during early morning raids.


    The action began before dawn, when dozens of police officers dressed in tactical gear gathered at the Desert Hot Springs Police Department, then fanned out into the city in unmarked vehicles. Most of the arrests were uneventful.

    Police said they had to kick down a few doors, but nobody ran or fought.


    “It all went pretty peacefully,” said Dale Mondary, Desert Hot Springs police chief. “I think that’s the benefit of getting out there early in the morning. I know there were no shots fired, and I don’t think there were any reports of anyone resisting or actively fleeing.”


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    Photos: Desert Hot Springs police raid
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    Police return to their vehicles after stopping at a home in Desert Hot Springs early Thursday morning during a city wide raid. Jay Calderon, The Desert Sun

    The raids might have gone smoothly, but there was still drama. At a house on Cahuilla Street, police arrested a shirtless man with a large “DHS” tattoo on his chest. The man was handcuffed, then led into the back of a police car.

    Before he was driven away, officers allowed a young woman – who was crying – to lean into the car and kiss the man goodbye.


    “I love you,” she mouthed before they drove off.

    Buy PhotoA man is taken into custody by police at a home on Cahuilla Ave. in Desert Hot Springs during a police raid at various locations around the city on June 16, 2016. (Photo: Jay Calderon, The Desert Sun)


    The raids continued for about three hours. Between homes, police gathered in a staging area in a parking lot of a hair salon across the street from the police department.

    At one point, hairdresser Regina Robinson looked out her window and saw 30 cops in front of her business. A customer was parked outside, afraid to leave her car, unsure what was going on.


    “Don’t be scared!” Robinson shouted, emphatically high-fiving an officer. “They are going to protect us.”


    In total, 30 people were arrested as part of the Desert Impact investigation. Nine will be charged in federal court, and remainder face state charges. All suspects face felony charges. Most of the charges are related to guns or drugs, but five suspects were arrested for defrauding housing programs by allowing criminal activity in government-funded housing.

    Authorities announced the charges midday Thursday at a press conference, speaking at a podium flanked by two tables filled with the guns and at least six buckets of ammunition seized.


    “It is obviously quite concerning that these are in the hands of gang members,” Mondary said. “But these gang members did not go down to the local gun shop and apply for a permit and obtain these weapons legally. So we know clearly they were all obtained in a illegal manner."

    Police take evidence during a raid in Desert Hot Springs. (Photo: Courtesy Riverside County District Attorney's Office)


    Most of the guns were illegal for two, or possibility even three, reasons.

    Almost everyone who was arrested as part of the Desert Hot Springs investigation was already a convicted felon, and therefore forbidden from possessing a firearm. Secondly, although the handguns and rifles could be potentially purchased legally, some of the weapons – like the sawed-off shotgun and silenced submachine gun – are always illegal in California.


    The same is true for the two rocket launchers, which are military-grade one-time-use anti-tank weapons. Adam Ekstrom, a resident agent-in-charge for the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives in Riverside County, said the launchers had already been fired, so they were “essentially empty tubes.” However, possession of the launches is still a misdemeanor.

    An arsenal of weapons were confiscated during the investigation in Desert Hot Springs. (Photo: Brett Kelman, The Desert Sun)


    The press conference was held at the Henry Lozano Community Center, which is named after a Desert Hot Springs resident who was killed by gang violence in 2001. Lozano’s mother, Donna, said she was relieved to see that law enforcement will still fighting the plague that claimed her son.

    “It’s so difficult to lose a part of your whole heart,” Lozano said. “I’m so happy to see they are still doing their absolute best – putting their life on the line every single day – to clean up the filth, ugliness, death and violence.”


    District Attorney Mike Hestrin said the Desert Impact investigation was the kind of “proactive” investigation that was needed all over Riverside County. Hestrin made a similar statement just a week ago, when another gang investigation in Corona led to 52 arrests and the confiscation of more than 60 guns.


    “We are facing an increasingly well-organized, well-funded and well-armed criminal organization and organizations here in Riverside County,” Hestrin said. “And sometimes the best defense is an offence.”


    “Street level law enforcement – as in more cops on patrol – is important in dealing with rising crime,” Hestrin added. “But equally important is to have the patience and resolve to tackle these more complex, long-lasting investigations, which tackle the source of crime.”


    For years, local law enforcement have been doing just that. Thursday’s raids continue a long history of anti-gang sweeps in both Desert Hot Springs and the Coachella Valley.



    In 2009, Operation Falling Sun led to 120 arrests in Desert Hot Springs, and the following year Operation Eastern Encore nabbed another 168 suspects. Many of these arrests were misdemeanors, so the suspects who were arrested in Desert Impact face much harsher consequences if convicted.

    Earlier this year, police raided another 100 locations as part of a concentrated effort against Varrio Coachella Rifa, which was described as an “umbrella gang” that oversees six to eight smaller gangs throughout Coachella. Those raids were less focused on making arrests, and more concerned with serving gang members with a court injunction, which is sort of like a restraining order against the gang.


    Because of the injunction, it is now an arrestable offense for Coachella gang members to gather, display gang apparel or even step outside after a 10 p.m. curfew.


    IDENTIFIED SUSPECTS


    Prosecutors have identified some of the 30 suspects who have been arrested as part of Operation Desert Impact.
    Jose Manuel Castillo, 37, of Indio – Felon in possession of a firearm, felon in possession of ammunition, special allegation for prior convictions
    Pablo Marcos Cortez, 25, of Desert Hot Springs – Illegal sale of a firearm
    Victor Manuel Lerma, 36, of Palm Springs – Felon in possession of a firearm
    Justin Joseph Rushing, 34, of Desert Hot Springs – Distribution of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, possession of marijuana, special allegation of prior conviction
    Donald Darnell Dennis, 38, of Desert Hot Springs – Drug possession with intent to sell, special allegation of prior conviction
    Jake Clifford Wright, 29, of Cathedral City – Felon in possession of a firearm, felon in possession of ammunition, distribution of a sawed-off shotgun, possession of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine while armed with a firearm
    Amy Luna, 40, of Desert Hot Springs – Perjury and grand theft by defrauding a housing program of a public housing authority
    Robert Luna, 50, of Desert Hot Springs – Perjury and grand theft by defrauding a housing program of a public housing authority
    Marie Mifflin, 51, of Desert Hot Springs – Perjury and grand theft by defrauding a housing program of a public housing authority
    Flora Ramirez, 36, of Desert Hot Springs – Perjury and grand theft by defrauding a housing program of a public housing authority
    Barbara Dale, 61, of Desert Hot Springs – Perjury and grand theft by defrauding a housing program of a public housing authority
    Source: Riverside County District Attorney's Office

    http://www.desertsun.com/story/news/...ings/85977892/

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  2. #2
    Senior Member lorrie's Avatar
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    I want to know.... are they illegal aliens?

    Looking at the tattoo's, I would have to assume they are here illegally.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    See? State and local police know how to do this. We just cut them loose on illegal aliens, and they'll all be out of here in 2 years or less.
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    Moderator Beezer's Avatar
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    They are destroying all our towns and cities and trashing our neighborhoods! I have been to that area and Palm Springs and it used to be nice. NOT NO MORE! Same with the Central Coast of California...over run with illegals, crime, graffiti, drugs, rape and murder. Like that poor woman in Santa Maria who worked at Vandenberg AFB those two animals raped and killed.

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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    6 From Coachella Valley Charged by Federal Prosecutors with Drug, Firearm Offenses

    Four arrested during "Operation Desert Impact," a nine-month gang investigation in the Desert Hot Springs area.


    Palm Desert, CA
    By Patch CA (Patch Staff) -
    June 17, 2016 2:08 pm ET




    DESERT HOT SPRINGS, CA --- Six Coachella Valley residents, four of whom were arrested Thursday during a multi-agency raid in Desert Hot Springs, were charged by federal prosecutors with drug trafficking and illegal possession of firearms.

    Julio Cesar Gomez, 31, of Indio, Angel Alejandro Carmona, 30, of Coachella, and Steven Andrew Gonzalez, 32, of Indio, were charged in an indictment with engaging in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, according to a U.S. District Attorney's release.


    Gomez also faces a charge of being a felon in possession of an assault rifle with an obliterated serial number, while Carmona is charged with being a felon in possession of a .357- caliber handgun. Gomez and Carmona were arrested during this morning's raid, while Gonzalez is in state prison in Wasco, California.

    Francisco Remigio Figueroa, 34, Mario Vincent Lopez, 49, and Donnie Darnel Dennis, 38, all of Desert Hot Springs, were also charged for various methamphetamine and firearm related offenses.

    Figueroa, who is currently in jail in Riverside County, was charged with distributing methamphetamine and marijuana and possessing a 20-gauge shotgun and ammunition after being convicted of multiple state felonies.




    Lopez is charged with distributing methamphetamine, as well as possessing an unregistered 12-gauge shotgun and ammunition after being convicted of multiple state felonies.

    Dennis was also charged with distributing methamphetamine. Lopez and Dennis were arrested this morning in Desert Hot Springs, during the operation that resulted in 22 total arrests for weapons and narcotics trafficking.

    Five of the men face a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of life imprisonment in a federal institution if convicted. Figueroa faces a minimum of five years and a maximum of 65 years if convicted.


    According to U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Thom Mrozek, Gomez, Lopez, and Dennis all appeared at the United States District Court in Riverside Thursday afternoon and were ordered detained pending trial. Carmona is scheduled for a court appearance this afternoon.


    "Drug trafficking involving firearms continues to pose a tremendous danger to our communities," said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker.

    "Several of these men were undeterred by prior state convictions, so now they must face federal charges and lengthy prison sentences."


    http://patch.com/california/palmdese...rearm-offenses

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  6. #6
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lorrie View Post
    I want to know.... are they illegal aliens?

    Looking at the tattoo's, I would have to assume they are here illegally.
    Since many of them have been in prison and there is no mention of them having been deported at the end of their sentences, and no mention of I.C.E. holds on them this time, they are probably citizens.
    NO AMNESTY

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  7. #7
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Last week they cleaned up Corona.

    Corona gang sweep nets 52 arrests and $1.6 million in drugs, authorities say


    Sixty-seven firearms, including assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons, along with cash and drugs, were seized in a gang sweep in Corona on Thursday. (California Department of Justice Office of the Attorney General)


    Alexia Fernandez


    A massive gang sweep in Riverside County resulted in the arrest of 52 people Thursday and the seizure of almost $1.6 million worth of drugs, according to authorities.

    The raids targeted suspected members of the Corona Varrio Locos and the Mexican Mafia, according to police, and came in response to a spike in local crime. The operation involved more than 300 state and local officers.


    In addition to drugs, authorities also seized 67 firearms, including assault rifles and semiautomatic weapons, and more than $95,000 in cash, according to Corona police Sgt. Brent Nelson.


    “Corona was the major city targeted,” Nelson said. “Our violent crime rate in Corona went up. Our investigation has been months in the making.”


    The recent crimes included robberies, extortion and a fatal stabbing at Corona City Park, he said.


    “Those cases brought everything together so that we could tie it into one group,” he said. “Through the investigation, that’s where the conspiracies to commit murder, drug trafficking and drug violations came into place.”


    The police department worked with multiple law enforcement agencies, including the Riverside County Sheriff’s gang task force and the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Investigation Special Operations Unit.

    “When a gang comes into our communities, law enforcement has a duty to protect our city and our neighborhoods,” Nelson said.


    The Corona Varrio Locos operate in the city of Corona and the surrounding areas of the Inland Empire, authorities said. The Mexican Mafia operates within the California prison system.


    The investigation into gang activities is ongoing.


    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/l...nap-story.html
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    The Corona Varrio Locos operate in the city of Corona and the surrounding areas of the Inland Empire, authorities said. The Mexican Mafia operates within the California prison system.
    Interesting.
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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Mexican Mafia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican_Mafia

    The Mexican Mafia (Spanish: Mafia Mexicana), also known as La Eme (Spanish for "the M"), is a highly organized
    Mexican American criminal organization in the United States. Despite its name, the Mexican Mafia did not originate in Mexico and is entirely a U.S. criminal prison organization...
    NO AMNESTY

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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    31 arrested in Whittier, Santa Fe Springs gang crackdown

    KABC-TV‎ - 2 days ago

    Authorities arrested 31 known gang members and associates ... and drugs in multiple communities here in Southern California," U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker said...
    NO AMNESTY

    Don't reward the criminal actions of millions of illegal aliens by giving them citizenship.


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