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Major Drug Bust in Merced Co.

Law enforcement agents have taken down a drug trafficking operation believed to be run by the dangerous Nuestra Familia prison gang.
Local, state and federal law enforcement agencies have teamed up to disrupt a dangerous criminal network.  Operation Red Eye, as it was called, stretched from Merced County to other places across the country.  The six-month long investigation focused on a gang drug trafficking operation.  It resulted in the arrest of 41 people.

“Those taken down today were bigger fish than those sometimes netted in these kinds of operations,” said Merced Co. District Attorney Larry Morse.
Operation Red Eye wrapped up with agents confiscating $83,000 in cash, 72 lbs. of meth along with other drugs like marijuana, cocaine and ecstasy.  20 guns were taken off the streets; as were nearly a dozen vehicles which included Cadillacs and Range Rovers.

“They were hit hard today and our streets and communities will be safer as a result,” said D.A. Morse.

This entire case is reportedly linked to Nuestra Familia, a violent Hispanic prison gang who uses Norteño gangsters to traffic drugs throughout the Central Valley.

“As long as you can think it’s happening somewhere else, but when it’s here it hits pretty close to home.  That is scary, very scary,” said Debbie Bush of Winton.

Debbie Bush of Winton applauds the D.E.A., D.O.J., sheriff’s deputies and police officers for their dedication to keep her and others safe.

“I’m glad that our money and our law enforcement who I think are so brave and do such a tremendous job for us, is making some headway,” said Bush.

Merced Police Chief Norm Andrade says these same people are the ones committing more noticeable crimes each day.

“The burglaries, the robberies, the domestic violence,” said Merced Police Chief Norm Andrade.

The attorney general’s office hopes this operation sends other would be criminals a strong message.

“If you get involved in these types of operations you’re only going to be promised one of two things, either a lifetime of incarceration or probably an early death,” said Kent Shaw of the attorney general’s office.

This investigation is not over.  After processing all of the evidence and interviewing the suspects, it will likely lead to arrests for other crimes.

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