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Victorville gang sweep nets dozens

October 1, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
There was a major gang crackdown in San Bernardino County Thursday. Sheriff's investigators made dozens of arrests and seized guns and drugs Thursday as they went after a gang that's reportedly linked to the Mexican Mafia. The sweep was called "Operation Jokers Wild."The suspects were processed in a section of the Victorville Fairgrounds Thursday morning. They are reportedly members of a Victorville street gang known as "ESV," or the East Side Victoria. Authorities say that for years, the gang has been responsible for distributing drugs, guns and stolen property.

"There's roughly 200 members of the East Side Victoria gang," said Detective Jeremy Martinez, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. "There's an unknown number of associates to the gang. This investigation showed us just exactly how many associates they have. They would recruit people and not necessarily let them join as members, but would utilize them to help further their gang activities."

"And we are going to make sure that they are all going to be held to the highest extent of the law regarding any of the crimes that we can prove they have committed," said Mike Ramos, San Bernardino County district attorney.

San Bernardino County Sheriff Rod Hoops said two messages should be very clear from the two-year investigation.

"We want the citizens of our communities to feel safe in reporting crimes when they see it and to those that are, you know, to those young people that are thinking about, you know, getting involved in gang activity," said Sheriff Hoops. "I mean today's a good case study on what can happen to you if you go down that path."

In Old Town Victorville not many people who wanted to comment on the gang sweep.

"I guess the city is trying to clean things up and everything so I guess it could be a good thing. I would imagine so," said Victorville resident Janelle Angulo.

Many suspects have already been served. Authorities are still in the process of serving warrants. Those that are in custody will be arraigned Friday.

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