24 people arrested, 77 weapons seized in Riverside County operation

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Riverside County law enforcement hit nearly 60 locations simultaneously Thursday in what they're calling the largest single-day criminal takedown in the county's history. (KABC)

Riverside County law enforcement hit nearly 60 locations simultaneously Thursday in what they're calling the largest single-day criminal takedown in the county's history.

The operation was called Valley Vigilance and 77 weapons were confiscated. Authorities said 24 people were arrested on various felony charges, with most of them living in Hemet.

"Operation Valley Vigilance is part of a larger countywide effort to rid our county of violence," Hemet police Chief Dave Brown said.

Brown said many of the suspects who were arrested are gang members. They are accused of selling weapons and drugs to further violence in the community.

"Today, we show that we are indeed fighting back against lawlessness," Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said.

Hestrin said unfortunately because of recent changes to state law AB109 and Prop 47, many criminals are serving much shorter sentences when convicted on state charges.

That's why Hestrin said using a different strategy, such as trying to bring federal charges against many of the suspects, will keep them off the streets for a much longer time.

"Where state laws have failed the people of California, federal laws sometimes are applicable and if they are applicable, we will go down that road," Hestrin said.

But law enforcement said it isn't the end of operation Valley Vigilance - it's just the beginning.

"The message to criminals should be clear and unambiguous - we will be coming for you. Maybe not today, but soon," Hestrin said.

Related Topics:
arrestweaponsgang activitycrimeHemetRiverside County
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