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28 arrested in violent criminal street gang crackdown in county
Gang crackdown

A gang sweep in Stanislaus County resulted in the arrests of 28 individuals as part of an effort to dismantle alleged Norteño street gang activity in Stanislaus County. In coordination with the Modesto Police Department, the operation resulted in the seizure of $15,950 and 21 firearms.

The joint effort is part of a multi-agency operation, known as Operation Red Desert, was the product of a six-month investigation that began in February. The complaint, filed by the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office, contains charges of alleged criminal activity including conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit kidnapping and robbery, attempted murder, drug trafficking, firearms violations, and gang enhancements.

“I am extremely proud of the tremendous effort put forward by all the allied law enforcement agencies in this task force in bringing these criminals to justice,” said Stanislaus County District Attorney Birgit Fladager.

“This is an excellent example of the California Department of Justice and California Highway Patrol Special Operations Unit working together with local agencies to combat violent crime and gangs in our community,” said Modesto Police Department Chief Galen Carroll.

In the past few months, Stanislaus County has experienced an increase in unsolved homicides and robberies. The criminal activity is believed to be gang-related and to possibly involve members of the Norteño gang. The operation was a collective effort by the California Department of Justice and California Highway Patrol Special Operations Unit, the Modesto Police Department, and the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office. The investigation has led to the prevention of multiple planned robberies.

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.

Among those arrested were:

• Raymond Ramirez, 39, of Ceres, on charges of conspiracy and three gang enhancements.

• Jacob Montalvo, 26, of Ceres, charged with cultivation of marijuana, gang enhancement and probation violation.

• Joshua Montalvo, 26, of Ceres, for cultivation of marijuana with a gang enhancement.

Others arrested and charged  in this operation were:

Arthur Campos, 32, Robert Delosrios, 19, Eleuterio Avalos, 27, Brandon Bachman, 26, Robert Delosrios, 19, Willie Torres, 38, Jessie Varela, 34, Matthew Nesslage, 26, Danny Hobbs, 34, David Desmond, 35, Miguel Flores, 21, Edgar Gonzalez, 36,  Juan Ramos, 19, Anthony Jeter, 27, all of Modesto; Xavier Carmona, 33, and Joaquin Swank, 36, both of Stockton;  Joe Ramirez, 39, of Pleasant Valley Prison; Shaun Santos, 22, of Bryon;  Abel Ortiz, 38, of San Jose; Jose Gutierrez, 18, of Turlock; Phillip Lopez, 25, and Jorge Gonzalez, 22, both of Waterford; and Daniel Gonzalez, 26, of Riverbank.