The Justice Department charged over 140 gang members and associates in San Diego County after authorities led what was described as a crackdown on violent street gangs in the last 75 days.
The suspects are accused of terrorizing neighborhoods from shootouts to robberies and other violent crimes. Over 60 firearms and 30 pounds of methamphetamine along with cash and other illicit narcotics were confiscated by law enforcement. Charges include crimes like racketeering, money laundering and sex trafficking.
“This is an unusually large number of gang members arrested in a very short period of time,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Alana W. Robinson in a statement. “The sheer number of arrests illustrates that gangs are a significant problem in this county. But it also underscores our enormous commitment to use every tool we have to attack this problem and restore communities to families who should not have to live in fear in their own homes.”
The charges, unsealed this week in federal court, relate to the prosecution of 16 members and associates of the Escondido-based Diablos street gang.
According to court records, in the last year alone, the street gang has been guilty of 25 gang-related shootings, numerous attempted murders, armed robberies, multiple instances of witness intimidation and the prevalent distribution of illicit drugs and firearms in North San Diego County.
The Justice Department said the charge resulted from, “Four proactive gang cases involved months of federal wiretaps, extensive surveillance and scores of undercover drug and gun buys.”
The charges come days after Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke to law enforcement officials in Suffolk County Long Island about combating the violent street gang MS-13.