One year later: MS-13 gang sweep in Mendota, Dept. of Justice recognized

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It’s been almost one year since MS-13 gang members accused of horrific crimes have been pulled off the streets of Mendota.

The operation, Blue Inferno resulted in 25 arrests.

On Tuesday, the California Department of Justice was recognized for its efforts in the case.

“It took a lot of work well before the take downs occurred,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

The gang is responsible for 14 brutal murders from 2015 to 2017 in the west part of Fresno County. They’re notorious for using machetes in their attacks.

“That gang, over the course of a couple of years, had committed several homicides, dumped bodies, committed other acts of violence and had essentially terrorized that community,” said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California, McGregor Scott.

Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies worked together in the gang sweep but the centerpiece of the operation was the Special Operations Unit Central California Team of the California State Department of Justice.

“They served as what we call the wire team for this investigation,” Scott said. “We were able to link evidence to crimes, murders, that MS-13 had committed in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Huston, New York, and the northern Maryland, Virginia region because of the work that was done by this team right here in Fresno, California.”

Since the sweep, Mendota has been given its life back.

“People can now walk the streets again, people can now go to the parks again,” Scott said.

Because of that, the Special Operations Unit Central California Team was recognized and presented with the United States Attorney’s award on Tuesday.

“The number one priority given to the United States attorneys across the nation has been to reduce violent crime and specifically to get after MS-13,” Scott concluded.

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