Operation results in 27 arrests and seizure of illicit drugs and weapons, including ghost guns
LOS ANGELES — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced the results of a multiagency effort — “Operation Safe Harbor” — targeting a violent criminal street organization in Los Angeles. Members of the organized criminal group were allegedly operating a statewide narcotics and firearm trafficking network throughout California and responsible for a number of violent acts. The effort by the California Department of Justice’s Special Operation Unit, the Los Angeles Police Department, the California Highway Patrol, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Homeland Security Investigations and the Tulare and Kern County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA), resulted in the arrest of 27 suspects, the seizure of 30 weapons including ghost guns, as well as illegal narcotics, including fentanyl, methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and PCP.
“Today, we are sending a strong message that organized criminal enterprises cannot stand up to the power of good law enforcement work,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Today we’ve taken dangerous drugs and weapons off our streets and protected the people of Los Angeles from the ongoing threats that this group caused. I thank our DOJ agents and law enforcement partners for the hours of work they have put into this case and for their work to make California safer. Tonight, Los Angeles families can live and sleep with greater peace of mind as a result of this investigation.”
"I’m thankful for the collaborative efforts of our federal and state partners in keeping guns and drugs off of our streets," said Michel Moore, the chief of the Los Angeles Police Department. "Through these partnerships, we are best able to serve the people of Los Angeles and beyond. We will not stop looking for those who are selling these deadly products."
"These arrests are the result of a continuing investigation into Mexican Mafia and cartel-affiliated street gangs which have plagued the Harbor area with violent crime, drugs and illegal guns," said Donald Alway, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI's Los Angeles Field Office. "The FBI will continue to devote resources to this strong law enforcement partnership with the goal of restoring safe streets for law abiding citizens."
“These enforcement actions demonstrate how seriously we take our commitment to safeguarding the community against dangerous individuals who distribute firearms and illegal drugs like fentanyl,” said Los Angeles Special Agent in Charge Eddy Wang. “Targeting criminal street gangs is a critical part of our fight to reduce violent crime in our communities.”
At the conclusion of the investigation which began on June 1, 2023, agents carried out a large- scale operation on September 28, 2023, serving seven search warrants, making 10 felony arrests recovering 14 firearms, including two ghost guns and one short-barreled rifle, seizing approximately $4,000, and intercepting various amounts of narcotics. In addition, two stolen vehicles were recovered. Additionally, the investigation uncovered additional arms of the criminal enterprise, resulting in additional arrests and investigations in communities throughout California, including in Tulare and Kern Counties.
As a result of the overall investigation, in total, 27 arrests were made, 30 firearms seized, and illegal narcotics seized including 72,115 fentanyl pills, 1.7 pounds of fentanyl powder, 143 pounds of methamphetamine, 4.7 pounds of heroin, 1.9 pounds of cocaine, 1.7 of pounds PCP, and $44,000.
The suspects have been referred to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for potential filing of felony charges including, transportation of controlled substance, possession of controlled substance for sale, conspiracy to commit crime and felon in possession of a firearm.
Through collaboration, the DOJ Special Operations Unit provides statewide enforcement for combating violent career criminals, gangs, and organized crime groups, along with intrastate drug traffickers. These unique and essential teams use the latest technology and advanced investigative techniques and work alongside local law enforcement to enhance investigations into violent criminals and organized crime throughout the state.
Attorney General Bonta continues DOJ’s work with local, state, and federal partners to:
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