It’s Thanksgiving this week, and I don’t know about you, but I feel like there isn’t much to be thankful for in a year like this. Well, 102 people connected to two white supremacist gangs now face charges as part of an investigation by state and federal authorities. I suppose that’s something to be thankful for.
According to ABC 30, the investigation, dubbed “Operation Lucky Charm,” initially targeted both the Fresno-based street gang the Fresnecks and the prison-based Aryan Brotherhood. Authorities on both the federal and local level took part in the over 11-month investigation, with the primary focus being on cutting off lines of distribution for drugs and guns.
“A significant aspect of this investigation was the specific effort to identify sources of supply for guns, narcotics and to stop acts of violence in their pre-planning stage,” Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims told reporters at a news conference.
As a result of the investigation, $136,000 in cash, 90 pounds of meth, 47 guns, and six pounds of heroin were confiscated by authorities. High-key, I was half expecting a partridge in a pear tree to be at the end of that list.
Authorities have also said that the investigation led to the leadership of the Aryan Brotherhood being completely dismantled. In addition to targeting supply lines, the investigation also prevented contraband from entering state prisons. Authorities alleged that members of the gangs would get drugs and cell phones into prisons by stuffing them into sports balls.
“The way it worked is they actually cut open these sports balls and put in the contraband inside. They used gorilla glue to seal it back up and then were going to toss it back over into the property of a state prison,” Sheriff Mims told reporters.
I hope I’m not the only one with a trash-brain and is currently imagining what noted ringtone rapper Mims would be like as a local sheriff.
Anyway, according to KTLA, the 102 defendants are located across California, Nevada, and Montana. While half were arrested last Thursday, the other half remains at large, with all facing a series of charges on both the state and federal level.
The Aryan Brotherhood allegedly would give the Fresnecks orders using the cell phones that were smuggled into prison, and authorities said they used wiretaps to prevent up to 11 potentially violent crimes from happening. “We got up on their phones and we listened to the crimes being ordered and carried out in real-time,” McGregor Scott, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California, told reporters.
The crimes both gangs are alleged to have committed are varied, ranging from identity theft and fraud to murder, kidnapping, and home invasions. “These two gangs pose a real threat to the peace and safety of our communities—not just in Fresno County but throughout the state of California,” State Attorney General Xavier Becerra told reporters.