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Drugs worth $1.5 million, 67 firearms seized in Riverside County; 52 held
A major drug bust carried out under “Operation CVL Gun Shop” led to the arrest of 52 people and seizure of drugs worth $1.6 million, and 67 firearms in Riverside County recently.
The police had the major success following raids on June 9, 2016, carried out on two street gangs – Corona Varrio Locos and the Mexican Mafia, in response to a steep rise in local crime rates in Corona, Riverside.
The police recovered about $95,000 cash, apart from drugs, like methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana, and 67 firearms, including assault rifles and semiautomatic weapons, said Corona Police Sgt. Brent Nelson.
The investigation started in February 2016 after a string of attacks in Corona. One of the attacks involved the killing of 18-year-old Will Crites the same month. The Corona Varrio Locos gang, which was affiliated to Mexican Mafia prison gang “La Eme,” was responsible for the attacks, said Corona Police Representative Sgt. Paul Mercado.
This was the largest ever drug bust in Corona, said Mercado. The operation served 32 search warrants and 27 arrest warrants and involved more than 300 state and local police officers from the Corona Police Department, the Riverside County Sheriff’s gang task force and the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Investigation Special Operations Unit.
Accused facing felony charges
The accused were taken into custody and they face multiple felony charges. The Riverside County District Attorney, Mike Hestrin, said that the accused have been charged with 31 criminal offences, including 29 felonies and two misdemeanors.
Hestrin said, “We are facing an increasingly well-organized, well-funded and well-armed criminal organization. Sometimes the best defense is an offense; so this kind of proactive investigation is really the best way we’re going to put an to organized crime here in Riverside County.”
The officers said that though the crime rates in Corona has gone up, the investigation acted as a catalyst to gear the city towards safety. Corona Police Chief Mike Abel said, “The large amounts of narcotics, currency — and most importantly — the large cache of weapons seized, will no doubt disrupt the criminal gangs’ enterprise, thus making our communities that much safer.”
Attorney General Harris strongly condemned the rampant drug and gun trafficking on the streets by such gangs and said that such actions that jeopardize public safety will not be tolerated.
Way to an addiction-free future
Drug trafficking is a matter of serious concern for public health and safety. Moreover, such large drug busts highlight the rising demand for drugs in the streets. But, drug addiction is brutal; it takes a ruthless toll on the physical and mental health of a person.
If you or your loved one is addicted to drugs, seek medical help immediately. The Riverside Drug Treatment and Rehab Center can help you find the best curative treatment that can assist you in giving up addiction habits. Chat online with our representatives or call at our 24/7 helpline number (951) 221-4018 for immediate assistance.