Law enforcement officials said Tuesday they have dismantled a drug and gun trafficking ring that involved members of 13 different gangs and resulted in what is believed to be the biggest single-day weapons seizure in San Diego County.
A coalition of local, state and federal agents arrested more than three dozen people, most with gang affiliations or membership, and seized 60 weapons at the culmination of a two-year investigation dubbed "Crystal Palace." The number includes 33 guns found during raids of homes and storage facilities in Spring Valley, Lomita Village and Mira Mesa on Oct. 2, authorities said.
The takedown is the latest in a series of large-scale multi-agency crackdowns on street gang activity in San Diego County neighborhoods. In addition to the "Crystal Palace" indictments, 119 defendants have been charged in various federal gang prosecutions since January, with 79 guilty pleas so far.
"These are neighborhoods and streets where children play and walk to school, parents push their strollers and citizens of every age seek to live peacefully and enjoy their families," said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. "We will not allow our neighborhoods to become headquarters for gun-toting gang members."
Those arrested in connection with "Crystal Palace" include gang members from Linda Vista, Spring Valley, Mira Mesa, Logan Heights, Lomita Village, Chula Vista, National City and elsewhere. They are accused of trafficking in guns plus methamphetamine, heroin, ecstasy, marijuana and cocaine, according to grand jury indictments and search warrant affidavits unsealed today.
Among the guns found during the latest raids were numerous assault rifles, including Uzi submachine guns; AR-15 magazine-fed, semiautomatic rifles; antique shotguns and high-powered rifles and silencers.
– City News Service