VISALIA, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — A Tulare County street gang was dismantled early Thursday morning after authorities netted 25 people, including two juveniles, following a monthslong investigation, according to the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office.
Dubbed “Operation Stray Bullet,” the Sheriff’s Office, along with the FBI, DEA, and Visalia Police, mobilized at 4:30 a.m. to target a street gang operating out of the Cutler and Orosi areas, Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said.
The arrests were a result of a five-month-long investigation of a gang that was responsible for over 30 drive-by shootings and other crimes in Visalia, Cutler and Orosi.
Boudreaux said some of those shootings were reported to authorities while some weren’t due to fear of reprisal.
Authorities identified and targeted the gang’s structure, which ran primarily by Edward Moran of Cutler.
Boudreaux said Moran and his associates were responsible for numerous drug sales, gun sales, shootings, conspiracy to commit robbery, conspiracy to commit home invasions and conspiracy to commit murder.
Authorities pressed their investigation further in September 2019 when an 8-year-old girl was shot in a drive-by in Seville.
Boudreaux reported that the girl has since recovered and deputies were able to deliver Christmas presents to her during the holidays.
Investigators were able to identify Jorge Barajas as the main suspect involved in the shooting of the 8-year-old and was arrested in Thursday’s operation, Boudreaux added.
Here’s who was arrested:
- Edward Moran
- Daniel Hererra
- Humberto Contreras
- Mayra Carillo
- Miguel Reynoso
- George Aquino
- Ismael Contreras Sr.
- Jose Ocampo
- Armando Gonzalez
- Felipe Serrano
- Mark Montemayor
- Joseph Contreras
- Catalino Mondragon
- Gregorio Rodriguez
- Jesus Rodriguez
- Lesdy Moran
- Cristian Bravo
- Heriberto Alvarado
- Jorge Barajas
- 16-year-old Cutler Juvenile
- 15-year-old Cutler Juvenile
Nearly 300 law enforcement personnel from across the Valley, along with federal agents from the DEA and the FBI served 25 search warrants in Farmersville, Visalia, Tulare, Cutler, Orosi, Orange Cove, including 28 state and federal warrants, the Sheriff’s Office said.
The 25 people arrested face state and federal charges on drug sales, gun sales, shootings, conspiracy to commit robbery, conspiracy to commit home invasions, and conspiracy to commit murder.
Boudreaux also identified Juan Contreras and Jarod Martinez as wanted suspects in connection to the dismantled street gang.
Authorities seized 12 pounds of meth, 150 processed marijuana, half a pound of black tar heroin, 18 firearms, four rifles. grenade, two silencers, and two stolen vehicles.