FBI, Authorities from LA and OC Announce Gang-Related Arrests and Federal Charges – NBC Southern California

Law enforcement officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, along with local authorities from Los Angeles and Orange Counties, announced several gang-related arrests and federal weapons charges in those counties.

A news conference was held outside the FBI Resident Agency building in Orange at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. Representatives from the Los Angeles County & Orange County Violent Crime and Gang task forces spoke about a recent investigation that led to the arrests.

In one case, sixteen people associated with the Brownwood street gang, which mostly operates in Anaheim, were charged on Wednesday morning. Charges include:

  • Felon in Possession of Ammunition
  • Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime
  • Possession of Unregistered Firearms and a Destructive Device
  • Possession of Firearms Not Identified by a Serial Number
  • Transporting Unregistered Firearms and a Destructive Device in Interstate Commerce

Ten of those people were arrested, according to the FBI.

Three of those individuals were already in custody before Wednesday morning, and the other three are fugitives.

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From left to right, Jonathan Castaneda, Cassandra Camacho and Cristobal Flores are three fugitives sought by the FBI for illegal narcotics and weapons trafficking.

Anaheim police first began investigating the case in July 2019, when the gang “was engaged in illegal firearms sales and drug distribution in Orange County,” the FBI said.

Individuals in the gang would travel from Texas to California to trade guns for narcotics, the FBI said, while others would illegally sell those guns and narcotics in SoCal.

A confidential source bought narcotics and firearms from several of the individuals charged, several times between July 2019 and August 2020. Over the course of 25 separate operations, “the confidential source purchased approximately 759 grams of methamphetamine and 23 firearms,” the FBI said.

Other items seized by authorities like the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration include six rifles and pistols, “rifle scopes; AR15 upper receivers; one suppresser; and one pipe bomb,” the FBI said. Another source allowed authorities to seize “drugs, cash and a Sig Sauer handgun,” while Wednesday’s operation led to the seizure of seven more weapons.

FBI OPERATION 1

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Weapons and ammunition seized as part of an operation between the FBI and Southern California law enforcement.

In another, separate case, seven people involved with the Pico Nuevo 13 street gang were charged. The gang traffics narcotics and weapons, according to the FBI.

Two of those individuals were arrested Wednesday, three were already in custody, and two more are fugitives, the FBI said. Charges include:

  • Felon in Possession of a Firearm
  • Felon in Possession of Ammunition
  • Felon in Possession of Firearm & Ammunition
  • Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime
  • Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine & Fentanyl

“PN13 is based out of Pico Rivera, California, but has tentacles throughout North Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley,” the FBI said.

The PN13 investigation led to the seizure of 22 weapons.

A wide variety of other violent crime investigations between several law enforcement agencies over the course of the past six months led to the seizure of 180 guns, the FBI said.

Of those nearly 200 weapons, 37 were “ghost guns,” guns manufactured in private and without commercial serial numbers. Ghost guns are illegal to own, buy and sell in the city of Los Angeles.

They were seized in investigations started after other violent crime investigations, “involving narcotics violations, organized crime groups and fugitive apprehensions,” according to the FBI.