SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. - A joint investigation into the Westside Verdugo criminal street gang has resulted in the arrest of 180 people.
In June, the San Bernardino Police Department requested help from the California Department of Justice’s Special Operations Unit in its investigation.
Together with the district attorney’s office and several other local law enforcement agencies, officials made 180 felony arrests, shut down 30 illegal gambling establishments, seized 92 handguns, 19 assault weapons, $295,870 in cash and hundreds of pounds of illicit drugs, according to a statement from the attorney general’s office.
The illegal gambling sites were operated by members and associates of the gang, and it brought in tens of thousands of dollars a week for them. In 2021, five homicides, four attempted murders, and multiple other crimes were linked to the sites, according to Attorney General Rob Bonta.
On Wednesday, the investigation ended in a large-scale operation with agents issuing 34 search warrants, arresting 31 suspects, and seizing 11 firearms at multiple sites in San Bernardino County.
"Members and associates of this gang have committed violent crimes in San Bernardino with no regard for the people in the community who are directly or indirectly harmed," said Attorney General Rob Bonta. "This investigation and yesterday’s arrests and seizures have removed dangerous individuals from our streets and firearms from the hands of those who would choose to commit violent crimes."
Bonta said the results of the investigation could help law enforcement in solving other cases. During the investigation, evidence collected helped solve two homicides.
According to the attorney general’s office, the Westside Verdugo street gang has an extensive criminal history in San Bernardino. The gang is suspected of multiple violent crimes including assault, attempted murder, and murder.
"The scale of this multiagency operation speaks to the commitment we have to eradicate criminal street gangs across San Bernardino County, particularly one with such a violent history as the Westside Verdugo gang," said San Bernardino County District Attorney Jason Anderson.
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