More than 140 arrested in San Diego gang crackdown

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) —  Over the last three months, more than 140 gang members and associates have faced federal charges due to a crackdown on violent street gangs in San Diego, authorities announced Wednesday.

"This is an unusually large number of gang members arrested in a very short period of time,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Alana W. Robinson.

Over 60 firearms and 30 pounds of methamphetamine, plus cash and other illicit drugs, were seized by law enforcement during four long-term gang investigations that culminated this spring with various indictments charging crimes such as racketeering, money laundering and gun, drug or sex trafficking.

"The sheer number of arrests illustrates that gangs are a significant problem in this county,” Robinson said. "But it also underscores our enormous commitment to use every tool we have to attack this problem and restore communities to families who should not have to live in fear in their own homes.”

The most recent charges were against members and associates of the Diablos street gang based in Escondido who face various drug trafficking charges.

In the last year the Diablos gang has been responsible for more than 25 gang-related shootings, multiple attempted murders, dozens of armed robberies, witness intimidation and the widespread distribution of narcotics and firearms in North San Diego County, according to court documents.

The recent investigation helped to identify and locate Dionicio Torrez, a Diablos gang member, as the suspected killer of Cathy Kennedy, who was shot by gang gunfire March 7 as she drove home from church in Escondido.

Related Link: Two alleged gang members arrested in connection to murder of Catherine Kennedy

The four proactive gang cases involved months of federal wiretaps, extensive surveillance and scores of undercover drug and gun buys, authorities

"When members of criminal street gangs are arrested during joint operations, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office reviews their criminal histories and coordinates with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to determine where a defendant would be most appropriately prosecuted,” said Chief Deputy District Attorney Summer Stephan.

"In essence, we collaborate to get the most effective bang for our prosecutorial buck and make sure justice is served, whether that happens on the state or federal side.”

Categories: Local San Diego News