In a dramatic show of force that included armored vehicles on city streets, federal agents last week teamed up with local law enforcement to sweep through Ceres, Turlock and Modesto and take into custody 14 men in a series of arrests connected to the activities of the prison gang Nuestra Familia and the criminal street gang Nortenos.
The 10-month long investigation by the Central Valley Gang Impact Task Force culminated in the two-day operation that saw the arrests of eight men on federal drug charges and six men on state charges including attempted murder and first-degree robbery.
According to court documents, these defendants were members of the Nuestra Familia prison gang or Norteno gangs that are "feeder" gangs for the Nuestra Familia. Court documents allege that these defendants engaged in a variety of crimes to include acts of violence and methamphetamine trafficking.
"CVGIT is an excellent example of the strength of our law enforcement partnerships and how we are able to leverage that cooperation into operations that enhance public safety throughout the county," said Stanislaus County District Attorney Birgit Fladager. "Criminal street gangs are a permeating blight wherever they operate and it is vitally important that we work together to rid the community of them."
At least one search warrant location in Ceres was served with two Ceres suspects arrested. They were Salvador Raymond Deleon Rodriguez, 37, of Ceres, AKA Sal "Fat" Shark; and Victor Barrajas "Twinky" Arriola, 32, of Ceres.
The suspects, who will be prosecuted in federal court by the U.S. Attorney's Office, were arrested Tuesday and Wednesday following an indictment by a March 7 federal grand jury, charging them with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and various other drug trafficking offenses.
Arrested on Wednesday were Jesse Israel Alarcon, 23, of Modesto; Maximilano "Max" Sanchez, 38, of Turlock; and Gary Romero, 47, of Stockton, who also went by the moniker of "Pizza," "Cesar," and "Pepperoni."
Arrested on Tuesday were Joe Anthony Gomez Felix, 33, of Modesto, who was known on the streets as "Gator," and "Bullet"; and Danny Richard Edwin Brown, AKA "D-boy," 37, of Modesto.
Also facing state warrants to be prosecuted by the Stanislaus County District Attorney's Office are: Jesus "Chuy" Manuel Aispuro, 18, of Turlock, for attempted murder with a gang enhancement; Jarred Elkins, 18, of Turlock, for attempted murder with a gang enhancement; Brian "Troubles" Gonzales, 36, of Turlock, for attempted murder and burglary; Jorge Trevino, 40, of Turlock, for sales of methamphetamine; Steven "Silent" Parga, 19, of Turlock, for conspiracy to transport marijuana and conspiracy to bring drugs into a custodial facility; and a 17-year-old Hilmar boy juvenile for attempted murder with a gang enhancement.
"This Central Valley Gang Impact Task Force operation exemplifies how multi-jurisdictional, collaborative FBI Safe Streets Task Forces successfully investigate and disrupt violent criminal gang activity in our communities," said Herbert M. Brown, Special-Agent-in-Charge of the Sacramento FBI. "Take-downs such as the effort in Modesto, Ceres and Turlock today demonstrate the commitment of the FBI and its task force partners to improving of the quality of life in our communities by removing individuals who traffic dangerous drugs and commit violent crimes from our streets."
The arrests were the result of a 10-month investigation conducted by the Central Valley Gang Impact Taskforce (CVGIT). Assisting in the investigation and or assisting in the two-day take down include Ceres, Turlock and Modesto police departments, Stanislaus and Merced county sheriff's departments, California Highway Patrol, Stanislaus County Probation Department, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and U.S. Probation Office.