California police claimed credit for an undercover action that led to dozens of arrests on a number of drug charges. State police agencies were involved in the raids along with local and federal law enforcement. Called "Operation Red Reaper," the investigation allegedly disrupted a significant amount of criminal activity linked to the distribution of methamphetamine and related crimes, including violent activities. Police say that the drug distribution was linked to two gangs, Nuestra Familia and the Norteño street gang.
At a press release, several prosecutors said that 54 people were arrested, 53 guns seized and 36 pounds of drugs confiscated as part of the ongoing action. They said that the investigation began in September 2018 and lasted for 10 months. The prosecutors also said that not only drug crimes were involved; they said that people connected to the gangs were engaged in extortion, robbery and murder as well as drug trafficking and manufacture. They warned against the dangers of gang-related crime, saying that several cities in the Central Valley had witnessed a significant upsurge in unsolved murders since 2015 in incidents believed to be connected to the drug trade.
Twenty-one people are facing federal charges after being arrested in the police raids. They face a range of allegations, including theft, drug distribution and other offenses. Some of them could receive prison sentences stretching from five years in prison to a life sentence if convicted. Police allege that these drug activities were connected to gang leaders inside prison who were directing the trade through smuggled cellphones.
People who are accused of drug crimes can face serious consequences, especially if they are associated with charges for violent crimes. A criminal defense attorney may help defendants to challenge police behavior and work to avoid a conviction.