Local and Federal law enforcement officials announced the arrest of dozens of violent criminals with gang ties, including one who murdered a Parlier High School student in what turned out to be a mistaken identity killing.
Law enforcement officials announced the arrests on Friday at the Robert E. Coyle Federal Courthouse in downtown Fresno in what they are calling Operation Broken Bonds.
Driving the news: In total, 34 people were arrested and charged on Thursday in Fresno and Tulare Counties for a litany of crimes involved with the Nuestra Familia prison gang.
- Thirteen of the defendants were charged federally. They were charged with conspiracy and attempt to murder rival gang members to further the Nuestra Familia and Norteno racketeering enterprise. They were also charged with the illegal possession of firearms in furtherance of the crime.
- The federal complaint claims that the criminal plans by the gang members were foiled by law enforcement.
- Those defendants also were charged with distributing fentanyl, cocaine and methamphetamine, firearms offenses and robbery. One defendant was also charged with attempted bribery of a federal officer.
- The other suspects arrested were taken into custody for carjacking, home invasion, conspiracy to commit murder, homicide, agriculture thefts, robbery and extortion.
- Operation Broken Bonds started on Feb. 14 and was overseen by the Multi-Agency Gang Enforcement Consortium (MAGEC).
By the numbers: Through Operation Broken Bonds, law enforcement seized 64 guns, one pound of cocaine, over seven pounds of methamphetamine, over 1.5 pounds of fentanyl, 540 grams of marijuana and $27,000 in cash.
What they’re saying: Fresno County Sheriff John Zanoni said the investigation started in response to multiple homicides that took place in Parlier, Reedley and Kingsburg, including two Parlier victims who were killed because of mistaken identities.
- “One of those victims was a high school student with no gang ties. He was ambushed while sitting on his bed in his bedroom, shot through the back window of the house. Just a very violent, senseless act,” Zanoni said. “The other victim was a farm worker. He was on his way to work on a day he didn’t normally work, and he was shot and killed by Norteno gang members in the City of Parlier.”
- Zanoni added, “Our communities are safer and people in those communities don’t have to keep looking over their shoulders and don’t have to put up with this level of violence that they’ve had to put up with for the last few months because of the efforts of the men and women in law enforcement, both federal, state and local that work together.”