47 arrested, 77 weapons seized in largest gang takedown in San Jacinto Valley

Dozens of people were arrested, and 77 weapons were seized in what law enforcement officials said Thursday was the largest gang takedown in the San Jacinto Valley.

Operation Valley Vigilance was a seven-month investigation that culminated Thursday with the arrest of 24 people and the seizing of dozens of guns and several pounds of drugs from San Jacinto to Hemet, Riverside Dist. Atty. Mike Hestrin said.

The sweep targeted organized gangs, gun and drug traffickers, and suspects with felony warrants, including murder. It was the largest single-day operation in southwest Riverside County and the San Jacinto Valley, Hemet Police Chief Dave Brown said.


Thursday’s sweep launched at 6 a.m. and involved hundreds of local, county and federal law enforcement officials moving simultaneously on nearly 60 locations. Combined with arrests earlier in the investigation, officials say 47 people were taken into custody, 77 weapons and 4 pounds of drugs were seized in the operation.

“These are not petty, minor criminal offenders,” Hestrin said at a news conference. “These are dangerous people that are violent, selling these guns.”

Thursday’s sweep was conducted simultaneously across the valley because many of the suspects communicate with each other, Brown said.

“We may never know the number of violent crimes prevented by the removal of these weapons and these violent criminals from our streets,” he said.

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