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Multi-Agency Operation in Fresno Results in 28 Arrests for Drug Trafficking and Firearm Offenses

Thursday, November 10, 2016 14:49
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(Before It's News)


FRESNO, Calif. — Following a year-long investigation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Investigation, Special Operations Unit; the Multi-Agency Gang Enforcement Consortium (MAGEC); and the Fresno Police Department, targeting local criminal street gangs in Fresno, 20 defendants were arrested today on federal charges and another eight defendants were arrested on state charges. The various charges include conspiracy to traffic illegally in firearms, illegal possession and sales of firearms, drug trafficking, and promoting prostitution.
Phillip A. Talbert Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California; Jerry Dyer, Fresno Chief of Police; ATF Special Agent in Charge Jill Snyder; FBI Special Agent in Charge Monica M. Miller, and California Attorney General Kamala Harris made the announcement.
“Firearms trafficking is one of the most pressing issues today,” stated ATF Special Agent in Charge Jill Snyder. “At ATF, our highest priority is reducing violent crime within our communities. Firearms trafficking leads to guns getting into the hands of violent criminals, gangs, drug trafficking organizations and prohibited people. Operations, like the one conducted today, make our neighbors safer by stopping the drivers of violence in our communities. We would like to thank all of the agencies involved in this operation for their hard work and dedication that made today a success.”
Acting U.S. Attorney Talbert stated: “The seven indictments and the arrests today are part of a strategic plan to maximize state and federal resources to reduce gun violence in Fresno and keep its streets safe.”
“Gangs cannot be allowed to operate with impunity, jeopardizing public safety and terrorizing communities in California,” said California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris. “I thank our California Department of Justice Special Agents, as well as the Fresno Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the California Highway Patrol for working diligently and collaboratively to keep our communities safe from violent crime.”
“Just as operation Dog Track served to dismantle the notorious Dog Pound gang, Operation Slide Lock will serve to cripple the Strother Boys gang,” said Chief Jerry Dyer. “I look forward to working with our local, state, and federal law-enforcement partners as we prepare to focus on the next targeted street gang.”
“Today’s arrests demonstrate the FBI’s commitment to helping make Fresno a safer place to live,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Monica M. Miller. “The FBI will continue to work with its state, local and federal partners to aggressively pursue those who would traffic in illegal firearms in our neighborhoods.”
The 17 federal defendants are charged as follows:
    Dejohn Wiley, 22, one count of conspiracy to engage in the business of dealing firearms without a license, one count of engaging in the business of dealing firearms without a license, two counts of possession of an unregistered firearm, 14 counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, three counts of possession of a firearm in a school zone, and nine counts of distribution of methamphetamine;
    Chris Wiley, 24, one count of conspiracy to engage in the business of dealing firearms without a license, one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, one count of possession of a firearm in a school zone, and two counts of distribution of methamphetamine;
    Anthony Latimore, 21, one count of conspiracy to engage in the business of dealing firearms without a license, one count of engaging in the business of dealing firearms without a license, four counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, and one count of distribution of methamphetamine;
    Garry Sampson, 38, one count of conspiracy to engage in the business of dealing firearms without a license, one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm;
    Vonshay Robinson, 29, one count of conspiracy to engage in the business of dealing firearms without a license;
    Rashawn Alkobadi, 22, one count of conspiracy to engage in the business of dealing firearms without a license, one count of engaging in the business of dealing firearms without a license, five counts of possession of a firearm in a school zone, and two counts of distribution of methamphetamine;
    Federico Garcia, 24, one count of conspiracy to engage in the business of dealing firearms without a license, possession of a firearm in a school zone, and two counts of distribution of methamphetamine.
    Omar Gonzalez, 24, one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine;
    Darien Hatcher, 26, one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine;
    Charlie Stevenson, 31, one count of conspiracy to engage in the business of dealing firearms without a license, three counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, and one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine;
    Jamar Johnson, 21, one count of conspiracy to engage in the business of dealing firearms without a license, two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, and one count of use of a cellphone to promote prostitution;
    Khalif Campbell, 33, one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base;
    Raymond Jones, 60, one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base;
    Danny Valenzuela, 50, one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base;
    Anthony Thomas, 24, one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm;
    Devone Johnson, 30, one count of possession of a firearm after suffering a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction;
    Dione Singleton, 39, one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, one count of possession of a firearm in a school zone, and one count of distribution of cocaine base.
The following federal defendants were arrested today on criminal complaints: Stephen Hill, 26, and Rashad Halford, 29, are charged with using a cellphone to promote prostitution and using a cellphone to facilitate a drug trafficking offense. Jesus Velazquez, 23, is charged with conspiracy to engage in the business of dealing firearms without a license and possession of an unregistered firearm. Darien Hatcher and Charlie Stevenson who were indicted have also been charged by a criminal complaint along with Robert Gonzalez, 33, for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
These federal cases are the product of an investigation by the ATF, the FBI, the Fresno Police Department, MAGEC, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office, and the California Department of Justice, the California Highway Patrol Special Operations Unit (SOU). The Special Operations Unit (SOU) is a collaborative investigative effort between the California Department of Justice and the California Highway Patrol (CHP) that provides statewide enforcement for combating violent career criminals, gangs, and organized crime groups, along with intrastate drug traffickers.
Also assisting today was the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, the Clovis Police Department, Fresno County Probation, and the California Highway Patrol.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kimberly A. Sanchez and Christopher D. Baker are prosecuting the cases.
If convicted the defendants face the following maximum sentences: five years in prison for conspiracy to engage in the business of dealing firearms without a license; five years in prison for engaging in the business of dealing firearms without a license; 10 years in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm; 10 years in prison for possession of a firearm after suffering a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction; five years in prison for possession of a firearm in a school zone; 10 years in prison for possession of an unregistered firearm; 20 years to life in prison for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine; 20 years to life in prison for distribution of methamphetamine; 20 years in prison for distribution of cocaine base; 20 years in prison for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base; 20 years in prison for possession with intent to distribute cocaine, and five years in prison for use of a cellphone to promote prostitution.
Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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