A 10-month long operation called Red Reaper made up of Kings, Tulare law enforcement with the help of the FBI and the Department of Justice took more than 90 Norteno gang members into custody.
“We’re announcing today, the arrest of 96 individuals and the seizure of 74 firearms including 14 fully auto firearms,” Assistant Sheriff Robert Thayer said.
Police also taking 11 pounds of crystal meth off the Central Valley streets.
“This is a dangerous street gang that infiltrated in our communities,” Thayer said.
Detectives with the help of federal agents uncovered the Nuestra Familia Prison Gang and the Norteno Street Gang in King County were running a large-scale drug trafficking operation and were committing violent crimes around Kings and Tulare Counties.
Thayer said the ones calling the shots on the drug operation were working from behind the walls of Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga.
Detectives said Sal Castro, who was serving time was giving orders from his prison cell to outside Norteno gang members using a smuggled cell phones.
“Today’s operation was a win for the good guys,” Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said.
Boudreaux said his gang unit was out has been battling this dangerous gang for several years.
“We’re all fighting for the good cause. As you seen and heard that we want to over come evil and that’s exactly what existed here with these gang members,” Bourdreaux said.
According to Detectives, the officer involved shooting that took place Tuesday morning outside of Corcoran was the result of the drug and crime operation.
According to police, three Norteno Gang members pulled off a home invasion robbery in the city of Corcoran.
One suspect was shot in the incident than dropped off at a local hospital, the other two taking off heading to Hanford.
Thayer said gang members inside the prison ordered the three suspects to commit the robbery.
The two suspects were being tracked by federal agents and sheriff’s deputies, police conducted a traffic stop, they were forced to open fire.
The two men were hit with gun fire and were taken to a local hospital.
Sheriff Boudreaux said the crackdown sends a message.
“I want every gang member to hear that law enforcement here locally in Tulare, Kings Counties and Fresno County, the Central San Joaquin Valley, we will be coming after you.”