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Brown Announces Arrests of More Than 50 Gang Members in Northern California

Thursday, June 3, 2010
Contact: (415) 703-5837

YUBA CITY — Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced today that narcotics agents of the Department of Justice and local law enforcement officials arrested 59 gang members, including one who bootstrapped his way from foot soldier to local commander by committing or ordering murders.

In sweeps today, agents arrested 33 gang members and seized 24 firearms in five Northern California counties as part of “Operation Crimson Tide.” The operation was conducted by more than 300 law enforcement agents in Sacramento, Sutter, Yuba, Colusa and Stanislaus Counties and involved more than 30 search warrants.

“Tragically, those arrested today chose to join dangerous gangs that deal in meth and murder,” Brown said. “By removing them from society, we are disrupting their criminal activities and making the people of Northern California safer.”

In January, agents from the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement and a task force of local law enforcement officials initiated Operation Crimson Tide by targeting gangs in and around Yuba and Sutter Counties.

After extensive investigative work, DOJ agents and task force members uncovered a well-organized methamphetamine distribution network, involving large amounts of methamphetamine smuggled into the United States from Mexico. The investigation also helped solve four homicides of Surenos gang members and resulted in the arrests of 26 Nortenos gang members and several associates.

Last month, agents arrested Robert Juan Salazar, 24, for the March 2004 murder of a Surenos gang leader as he sat in his car with his six-year-old nephew. In the view of law enforcement, that began Salazar’s climb up the organizational ladder of the local Nortenos gang, which included ordering murders of rival gang members in April and December 2004 and July 2005. Salazar is being held without bail in Sutter County Jail on murder charges.

Over the course of the operation, DOJ agents and task force members were able to prevent one murder, two stabbings, two shootings, as well as arrest two wanted fugitive gang members and two gang members on murder charges. Prior to today’s enforcement action, Operation Crimson Tide led to the seizure of more than 17 pounds of methamphetamine, two handguns and two sawed-off shotguns. An additional 24 weapons and more than 11 pounds of illegal drugs were seized today.

All 59 arrestees (including the 33 arrested today) will be prosecuted by the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office in one comprehensive gang prosecution case. All 30 search warrants were issued by the Sacramento County Superior Court. The cold-case homicide cases are being prosecuted by the Sutter County District Attorney’s Office.

Charges include distribution and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, firearms violations and murder.

The California Department of Justice Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement and the Yuba/Sutter Narcotic and Gang Enforcement Team led today’s operation. Participating agencies include:

Butte County Sheriff’s Department
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
California Highway Patrol
Colusa County Sheriff’s Department
Marysville Police Department
Modesto Police Department
Nevada County Sheriff’s Department
Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department
Sacramento Police Department
Sutter County Probation Department
Sutter County Sheriff’s Department
Yuba City Police Department
Yuba County Probation Department
Yuba County Sheriff’s Department

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