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‘Mexican Mafia’ crackdown nets 85 arrests in Southern California

May 3, 2018  |  Posted by: Michael Falzarano
‘Mexican Mafia’ crackdown nets 85 arrests in Southern California

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‘Mexican Mafia’ crackdown nets 85 arrests in Southern California

California authorities on Wednesday announced the major takedown targeting the Mexican Mafia and Surenos street gangs in Orange County resulting in the arrests of 85 “middle management” gang leaders.

Law enforcement officials said the arrests, which stemmed from a three-month joint investigation involving the California Department of Justice, Orange County Sheriff’s Department and the California Highway Patrol, dubbed “Operation Scarecrow,” was one of the largest operations in county history.

Orange County Undersheriff Don Barnes told the Orange County Register that authorities seized 36 firearms, 14 pounds of methamphetamine and three pounds of heroin during the raids.

The Register reported that the name “Operation Scarecrow” derived from a reference to a Mexican Mafia shot-caller with the nickname “Crow.”

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said the investigation targeted the Surenos street gang and criminal operations commanded by the Mexican Mafia.

“We will continue to hold accountable those who terrorize our communities and jeopardize our public safety. All families in California deserve to know that their loved ones, especially their children, are safe,” Becerra said during the announcement.

Prosecutors unsealed charges in 31 cases in Orange County and two in Los Angeles, including drugs and weapons offenses, fraud, street gang enhancements, and conspiracy.

“The success of this operation highlights the importance of collaborative partnerships amongst law enforcement agencies,” Sheriff Sandra Hutchens said in a statement. “The shared communication amongst our respective agencies have resulted in the removal of significant threats from our community. My hope is that these actions will send a message to criminal gangs that you are not welcome in Orange County.”

Barnes indicated that raids were a “drop in the bucket” compared to the organization’s “mass control over street gangs statewide.”

“We share this information not to scare the public but to remind the residents of Orange County that this is a reality we face,” he said. “Criminal gang enterprises still continue to prey upon our community and we have to do everything we can to fight back.”

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