Fresno Police Report Chinatown Fencing Bust

Operation That May Involve Welfare Fraud Linked To Homeless

The Fresno Police Department Has busted what they describe as an illegal fencing operation in Fresno's Chinatown neighborhood.  They believe the store was essentially a front, supplying downtown homeless residents with Marijuana and Alcohol. Police are not disclosing the location of the operation because they say the investigation continues.

A part of the break that led to the operation being raided by police can be traced back to a suspect police say stole thousands of dollars worth of equipment from an engine parked at Fire Department Headquarters in downtown earlier this month. 

"Last week we had one Arthur Howlin, press release was done by Sergeant.Valles. Arthur howlin I know personally , he's a Modoc gang member or was a Modoc gang member ,  was a shooter was arrested for murder", according to Captain Mark Salazar, who oversees the Southwest Fresno Policing District. 

Officers managed to recover all the equipment Howlin allegedly stole, except for a Fresno Fire Department radio.  Investigators began an investigation into where items being taken during recent burglaries in the area was ending up, and the investigation led them to the store. " We found two firearms. They recovered the  Fresno Fire Department radio , they $5  for it even though it's worth $1,400. They recovered four pounds of marijuana , fifteen EBT cards that they were holding as store credit. So we think that when they get loaded, whether it be welfare or other payments, they had a credit already in the store", according to Salazar.

When Officers arrived they were amazed at the number of homeless people waiting to get into the suspected fencing operation, "And so we believe that they were selling alcohol and drugs for the stuff that's in there, as the Detectives were in there there was a line out the door, kind of like a WWE concert at Save Mart Center, just a line of homeless that were in there with different goods".  Investigators say after the bust some of the people who were in line asked them about a man known only as " Papa", who is believed to have been operating the store.  Investigators say more arrests may be forthcoming.

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