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Criminal Defense From A Former Prosecutor

Gang sweep in California leads to 20 arrests

A multi-agency investigation into gang activities and drug trafficking led to a series of early-morning raids on Sept. 20 and the arrest of 20 individuals according to the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California. Authorities say that a further six individuals named in federal complaints remain at large. The investigation into the Mexican Mafia prison gang and street gangs operating in the San Diego area involved hundreds of law enforcement officers and federal agents from agencies including the San Diego, Chula Vista, National City, El Cajon and La Mesa Police Departments, the San Diego County Sheriff's Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In June, investigators say that they learned about a robbery and kidnap plan after obtaining court approval to listen in on telephone conversations between gang members. The kidnapping is said to have been a retaliatory action ordered by the Mexican Mafia prison gang. Police took the two men alleged to have been involved into custody following a traffic stop in Spring Valley. Zip ties and several weapons were recovered from the men according to media reports.

Police claim that the search of a Lakeside residence led to the discovery of 228 firearms including AR-15 assault rifles and semi-automatic pistols that had been tampered with to turn them into fully automatic weapons. Other searches are said to have yielded methamphetamine worth about $150,000. The 20 defendants taken into custody during the operation all entered pleas of not guilty during their Sept. 23 arraignment hearing.

Experienced criminal defense attorneys may seek to resolve serious drug crime cases at the negotiating table when several defendants are involved. This is because the prospect of spending decades behind bars will generally be enough to prompt one or more defendants to cooperate in return for more lenient treatment. Defense attorneys could encourage their clients to step forward sooner rather than later as this is when prosecutors tend to make their most generous plea offers.

Source: CBS 8, "Twenty-six charged in raids targeting street gangs, Mexican Mafia", Sept. 21, 2018

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