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Attorney General Bonta, Fresno-Area Law Enforcement Officials Announce 32 Arrests in Operation 'Gridlock'

By ONME Newswire

FRESNO — California Attorney General Rob Bonta, joined federal, state, and local law enforcement partners last week in announcing the arrests of 32 suspects as well as the seizure of 57 illegal weapons, and illicit drugs as part of a multiagency operation targeting an organized criminal group in Fresno County. Operation “Gridlock” began in October 2023, and targeted criminal street gangs who are alleged to be responsible for an increase in violence, including homicides, human trafficking, and illegal firearms in the Fresno area. The investigation was led by the Fresno County Multi-Agency Gang Enforcement Consortium (MAGEC) task force with collaboration from Fresno Police Department, Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, California Department of Justice’s High Impact Investigation Team (HIIT), California Highway Patrol, Clovis Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Fresno County District Attorney’s Office, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Homeland Security Investigations.


“Violence in our communities will not be tolerated; the California Department of Justice is zeroed-in on our mission of ensuring safe communities,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Today’s announcement stems from the strong collaboration among law enforcement agencies in Fresno and across our state, aimed at tackling violence and criminal organizations. I am grateful for the efforts of our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners for their united front in enhancing the safety of Fresno County. Ensuring the well-being of the public remains our utmost concern, and we will not back down until justice is served.”


“Operation Gridlock is one of the largest investigative operations the Fresno Police Department has initiated,” said Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama. “It started with several gang shootings that occurred in the Fall of 2023 and culminated into an extensive cooperative investigation involving 10 local, state and federal law enforcement partners. This collaborative effort resulted in 48 search warrants and 32 arrest warrants, all related to gangs, homicides, shootings, drugs, illegal guns and human trafficking. On behalf of the Fresno Police Department, I would like to thank all of those who participated, both in the investigation and enforcement actions.  Operation Gridlock is another example of law enforcement’s proactive response to community violence. The City of Fresno is our home, and we are dedicated to protecting all our community members from violence and harm. This operation has truly made Fresno a safer city for all to live and thrive.” 


“The shear number of weapons seized as part of this multi-agency investigation underscore the danger that both the community and law enforcement face due to these criminal organizations who are indiscriminate in the harm that they inflict,” said San Francisco / NorCal Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Tatum King. “HSI law enforcement agents and professional staff will continue to be unrelenting in their efforts to protect public safety and hold criminals to account for their destructive activities. HSI recognizes the excellent work by the Fresno Police Department and all partners in the Fresno County MAGEC Task Force whose work led to today’s actions.”


“Through collaborative, intelligence-driven investigations, the FBI works closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to dismantle violent gangs, curb criminal activity, and restore peace in our communities," said FBI Sacramento Special Agent in Charge Sid Patel. “Our fundamental duty is to safeguard people's right to live without fear of violence, and the results announced today are a testament to the thousands of hours of collaborative investigative work dedicated to this mission. By fostering partnerships between law enforcement and residents, we can combat neighborhood crime and make our communities safer for all.”


“The operation leading to today’s arrests reflects the incredible teamwork between our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, and our shared commitment to keeping our communities safe from violent crime,” said U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert. “Through the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program, my office has a proven track record of this type of collaborative effort to reduce violent crime and gun violence to bring peace to the citizens who live in affected neighborhoods.”


As part of the operation, the agencies seized 57 firearms, including ghost guns, AR-style rifles and semi-automatic handgunse; extended magazines, ammunition, and body armor, illicit drugs including, methamphetamine, and approximately $30,000 in currency. As both state and federal search warrants and arrests warrants were issued as part of the operation, the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California will be prosecuting the case. The suspects face charges ranging from homicide, conspiracy to commit homicide, human trafficking, home invasion, armed robbery, carjacking, burglary, illegal weapons possession, narcotics sales, transportation of narcotics, extortion, and auto theft. 


The High Impact Investigation Team (HIIT) is a California Department of Justice, Bureau of Investigation-led multiagency task force, federally funded through the national High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program. It is comprised of members from the California Department of Justice, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation-Special Services Unit,  Fresno County Sheriff's Office, Madera County Sheriff’s Office, Kings County Sheriff’s Office, Fresno Police Department, Fresno County District Attorney's Office, California Highway Patrol, and Federal Bureau of Investigation. As part of DOJ’s task force program, the participating agencies of HIIT work in collaboration to combat drug trafficking organizations, violent career criminals and gangs. These unique and essential teams use the latest technology and advanced investigative techniques and work alongside local, state, and federal law enforcement to enhance investigations into violent criminals and organized crime throughout the state.

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