Friday , May 24 2024

75 Arrested in Merced County Gang Sweep

A massive gang crackdown in Merced County lands dozens of people behind bars.  After a very lengthy investigation, multiple law enforcement agencies searched for suspected criminals from below and above; targeting drug cartel and gang activity.  Violent crime has been at all time highs in the city of Merced for the last couple of years. Police his is the first step in putting a stop to it.
75 suspected gang members and associates throughout Merced County were arrested Thursday.
UC Merced student Maria Ceja says, "It makes me happy that law enforcement are doing job."
The gang sweep uncovered guns, drugs and cash.
Merced police captain Tom Trindad says, "Hopefully taking some of these people that go into crime and get them away from it so they don’t have to take that path."
Captain Tom Trindad with the Merced Police Department says the investigation started months ago, with multiple agencies involved including the CHP and the California Department of Justice.
Trindad says, "We definitely wanted to make an effort to make our community safer.  This is a beautiful place. I’ve lived here my entire my life and what I want is community members to feel safe."
Not only were at least 100 law enforcement officers on the ground, but four aircraft were up above – eyes in the sky to help monitor any suspected criminals who tried to run.
Merced Mayor Stan Thurston says, "Often times it’s like a kitchen where you turn the light on and the cockroaches scatter."
Most of the search warrants were issued in Merced. The crime crackdown came just after violence and murders spiked to an all time high in the city in 2014.
Thurston says, "We don’t want cartel and gang drug activity in this area.  The more we can sweep and get this out of here the more, the more they’ll either go back to where they belong."
For Merced residents, it’s a small relief.
Ceja says, "I feel good. I feel good, but I still wouldn’t feel safe to walk out here at night."
The arrests included suspects wanted for murder and attempted murder.  Law enforcement officials say 11 guns were seized, as well as large amounts of drugs including methamphetamine and heroin.

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