Law enforcement confident MS-13 gang leadership has been eradicated from Mendota


More than two dozen MS-13 gang members have been taken off the streets of Fresno County. They’re accused of murder, kidnapping, assault with a dangerous weapon, and many other violent crimes. Law enforcement agencies said many of the 25 gang members and associates who were arrested and charged are out of Mendota.

According to law enforcement, the gang is responsible for more than a dozen murders in the area in the last two years.

On Friday, it was announced at a press conference, that Operation Blue Inferno was a large joint effort between federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. Tonight, they are confident they have wiped out the leadership of the MS-13 gang from the city of Mendota.

“Murder, violent assaults, and drug trafficking,” are what MS-13 gang members are accused of, said McGregor Scott, who is the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California.

On Thursday, more than 400 officers served 17 search warrants in the small west Fresno County town. A total of 25 MS-13 gang members and associates are now behind bars, to face federal and state charges.

Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp said, “MS-13 gang members were using the remote area of our county as an extension of their larger operation in Los Angeles… And taking advantage of the fact that Mendota is a small town with very minimal resources.”

Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said the gang members were notorious for using machetes in their attacks.

She stated, “The homicides are extremely violent in nature, most as a result of hacking injuries, as a result of a knife attack.”

Mims said the gang is responsible for more than 14 homicides in Mendota since 2015, with the most recent one in December 2017. Law enforcement describes MS-13 as vicious criminals, who have no regard for human life or law and order. The alleged gang members and associates who were arrested and charged, range in age from 18 to 39 years old.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said the operation would not have been successful without the team effort.

“To our men and women in law enforcement, thanks for what you did in Operation Blue Inferno, but more importantly, thanks for what you do every day. Today is a good day,” ended Becerra.

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