Over 18 guns were taken off of the streets in the High Desert as a result of an investigation involving two street gang Sheriff’s officials said. During the past 16 months, an investigation has been conducted by numerous law enforcement agencies in the High Desert and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). The investigations targeted two criminal street gangs in the High Desert, ‘Thee Rascals’ and ‘East Side Victoria’ street gangs. The two gangs have been accused of the major distribution of illicit drugs and numerous violent crimes in the High Desert. Authorities said that the gangs recruit children from the neighborhoods and schools throughout the high desert.
“Members and associates of these two gangs actively sell narcotics and weapons to further their criminal organization and to instill fear in the community,” Sheriff’s officials said in a news release.
Arrest warrants were issued by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office on Thursday, February 2, 2017, for over 50 documented gang members and associates of the gangs. Charges included, conspiracy to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, prescription drugs, and various weapon violations. The following day on Friday, February 3, 2017, additional arrest warrants for the suspects were served in Apple Valley, Victorville, Adelanto and Barstow authorities said. Around 70 arrests were made throughout the investigation, 19 search warrants were served, 12 pounds of methamphetamine were seized and 18 guns were taken off of the streets.
“When violent crime and narcotics trafficking are reduced, communities throughout the county are safer for residents. I am very proud of the work done by all agencies involved in this investigation.” Sheriff John McMahon.
The Sheriff’s Department will continue to work closely with the District Attorney’s Office in the prosecution of dangerous offenders who participate in criminal street gangs.
“Thanks to the diligence and collaborative efforts of the Sheriff’s department and all involved agencies, these alleged gang members involved in the distribution of drugs in our High Desert region will now face justice for their actions,” said District Attorney Mike Ramos. “We started this war on gangs in 2005 and we will continue to hold these criminals responsible for their actions, despite the ‘soft on crime’ approach that has eroded public safety in recent years.”