(CN) – California Attorney General Kamala Harris held a press conference Wednesday to announce the arrest of more than 100 gang members who have been terrorizing rural communities up and down the Central Valley.
“I’m very proud and pleased to announce a very successful Operation Red Zone,” Harris said. “This was an operation that was conducted over many months and involved over 8,100 hours of work.”
Operation Red Zone, launched in August 2010, ended successfully yesterday when local, state and federal law enforcement agents arrested 75 suspected gang members, bringing the total number of arrests to 101 when combined with 37 Salinas gang members in April.
Speaking from the Los Banos City Hall and surrounded by law enforcement officials, Harris said yesterday’s raid was a big step in combating the reign of terror imposed by “a very lethal gang that is mainly run out of the California State prison system, the Nuestra Familia, operating in conjunction with local Norteno street gang members who have been wreaking havoc on this community.” Harris added that two of gang members arrested were “senior Nuestra Familia regiment commanders.”
Harris thanked police and sheriff’s departments from Merced, Madera, Livingston, Atwater and Los Banos, as well as the Drug Enforcement Agency for their collaboration in recovering 27 weapons, including several assault weapons, thousands of rounds of ammunition, and a cache of methamphetamine, marijuana plants and crack cocaine from more than 50 locations in Merced and Madera counties.
“Let this be a statement that our job has just begun, and we will do whatever it takes to make sure that we will stop the violence that occurs from these lethal gangs,” Harris said.
According to a statement released by the Attorney General’s Office, most of the arrested gang members are being held in the Madera and Merced county jails. All but eight, who face federal indictments, will be prosecuted in Merced County, the statement continues.