San Bernardino County crime sting leads to hundreds of arrests, weapons seizures and drug busts

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY (KABC) -- A law enforcement operation called Operation Desert Guardian resulted in 150 felony arrests and the confiscation of weapons and cash, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department announced Wednesday.

"The objective was to provide high visibility patrol operations focusing on street level criminal activity," Sheriff John McMahon said.

McMahon said eight deputies from the Victor Valley area were assigned to the operation, which ran from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., on Fridays and Saturdays.

It started on June 2 and ended on Sept. 16. The operation focused on the cities and towns of Adelanto, Victorville, Apple Valley and Hesperia.

"You think you're going to commit a crime in San Bernardino County? Especially those local terrorists and gang members - we're going to hold you responsible," District Attorney Michael Ramos said.

McMahon said some of those arrested were targeted.

"We go after those folks who we know are known gang members. We know that they're involved in criminal activity and who have a pattern and practice of being in and out of state prison," he said.

But there were nights when deputies had no idea who they would arrest. In one example, Sgt. Mike New said arrests were made on what started out as a routine traffic stop, when they discovered four guns in the car.

New said they also unwittingly solved a murder during the operation, when a member of the community offered information about a suspect. The murder occurred on March 20, when 36-year old Joshua McGinnis, of Adelanto, was shot and left for dead in the parking lot of an apartment complex in the 11200 block of Chamberlaine Way.

During Operation Desert Guardian, a resident gave them information about a possible suspect.

"That just came from information from a concerned citizen in the city of Adelanto and that information was put in the right hands," New said.

Days later, Johnny Brown, of Adelanto, was arrested in Fort Worth, Texas. He's since been charged with murder.

Operation Desert Guardian resulted in 834 arrests, 150 of which were felony arrests. Seventy-nine gang members were identified, 21 firearms were seized - some of which were stolen - and 1.59 pounds of marijuana was seized, along with more than 100 grams of methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin/PCP.

The operation was paid for by funds allocated from Apple Valley, Adelanto, Victorville and Hesperia. San Bernardino County 1st District Supervisor Robert Lovingood also allocated funding for the operation.
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