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Police arrest 180 people in San Bernardino gang crackdown

Several long guns lie on a table on top of a San Bernardino police flag
Firearms seized during an operation targeting the Westside Verdugo street gang are displayed at a news conference Thursday in San Bernardino.
(Watchara Phomicinda / Orange County Register)

Authorities announced the takedown of a Southern California street gang that included 180 arrests and the seizure of illegal gambling machines, drugs and guns.

The investigation into the violent Westside Verdugo gang, which has been based in the San Bernardino area for decades, also helped detectives solve two homicides, authorities said Thursday.

David Green, San Bernardino’s police chief, announced the arrests in a news conference with California Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta and San Bernardino County Dist. Atty. Jason Anderson.

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“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,” Bonta said in a statement.

The 180 people arrested include 129 convicted felons, 40 people who are on probation and 12 on parole, Green said in an email.

The operation culminated with investigators executing 34 search warrants Wednesday in San Bernardino County, officials said. They arrested 31 people and seized 11 firearms.

The investigation also targeted the gang’s illegal gambling parlors, which allegedly brought in tens of thousands of dollars a week, authorities said in a statement.

Detectives shut down 30 gambling sites — including some linked to five homicides and other violent crimes this year — and seized more than 100 gambling machines and devices, officials said in the statement.

Authorities also said they seized 92 handguns and 19 assault weapons, nearly $300,000 in cash and hundreds of pounds of narcotics.


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