A gang task force spearheaded by Stockton Police say a five month investigation has led to the arrest of 39 suspects, 30 of them are known gang members.
Those arrested are Norteno gang members who were robbing and shooting each other, thus the name – “Operation Family Feud.”
The FBI, CHP, Federal Marshals and the San Joaquin Sheriff’s Department are some of the many agencies that helped Stockton Police investigate and make arrests for a long list crimes.
“They include firearms trafficking, to narcotics trafficking, burglaries, robberies and shootings,” said Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones.
A display of dozens of guns along with drugs, ammunition and body armor was shown to reporters.
“They were definitely dealing and using a lot of these firearms here and there are more,” said Jones.
The city has just started an Operation Cease Fire program that mobilizes the community to identify at risk youth and gang members and provide them with alternatives to the gang life. But that effort also relies on law enforcement using a stick opposite the carrot that’s being offered.
“If those individuals do decide to continue trafficking in guns and drugs in our community then let it be known that this is what’s waiting for them,” said Deputy District Attorney Ron Freitas, whose office participated in the gang sweep.
Chief Jones says it’s uncertain how Operation Family Feud will affect the amount of crime in Stockton but he’s convinced the operation was useful short-term. Two weeks ago, the task force arrested a dozen suspects. Some were in several cars on their way to commit a home invasion.
“I definitely know that we’ve prevented some serious violent crime,” said Jones.
Jones said the operation put away among the “worst of the worst” gang members in the community but he realizes that there are plenty of other gang members to take their place.
“We definitely know that we have to take bites of the apple that are manageable and little by little we’ll be able to make an improvement in the city,” said Jones.