Authorities in Stockton, California, arrested nearly 90 people while also seizing dozens of guns in a massive multi-agency gang takedown targeting violent street gangs and a recent increase in firearm-related activities in the area.
Tori Verber Salazar, the district attorney of San Joaquin County, touted the mission, dubbed “Operation Hybrid Havoc,” as the most successful crime operation that has ever been conducted in the county.
The investigation had been going on for the past year and picked up steam in the fall. It has been described as the largest gang bust of its kind in the county’s history. Over its course, agents executed 24 search warrants and 19 arrest warrants.
During a news conference on June 2, Salazar said officials arrested 88 alleged gang members on felony charges and confiscated 58 firearms, including 12 “ghost guns”—unregistered firearms often built using a 3D printer.
“We’re proud of the sheer amount of crime prevention that came from this operation,” the district attorney said. “Due to collaborated effort from the agencies, they literally stopped murder from occurring.”
Two homicides were also solved as a result of the investigation, bringing justice to affected families, officials said. One attempted homicide and four shootings were prevented as well as part of the operation.
One of the homicides included the murder of 31-year-old Mark Scott, a special education teacher at Pulliam Elementary School and a baseball coach at Edison High School.
In addition, law enforcement officials seized nearly $24,000 in cash and confiscated 959 grams of XTC, 394 grams of cocaine, 98 grams of methamphetamine, 73 grams of heroin, 3.8 pounds of illegal marijuana, and 54 grams of fentanyl, the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office said in a June 2 news release.
“Every gram, every speck, every pill of fentanyl is as dangerous as a bullet because it can take the life of an individual in a second,” said Salazar.
Stan McFadden, Stockton’s police chief, described some of the individuals that were arrested as “very dangerous people,” also listing a number of gangs with which those arrested were allegedly affiliated. The list includes the “Northside Gangster Crips,” “Muddy Boyz,” “West-Side Bloodz,” and the “Nightingale Bloodz.”
Officials confirmed that a total of 48 individuals have already been charged as part of the operation. The ages of the suspects range from as young as 18 to as old as 60.
“This community deserves the opportunity to thrive and flourish, and today the people of San Joaquin County are safer with these organized criminal elements off the streets,” said Salazar. “Those who commit harm, violence, and jeopardize the safety of this community will be held accountable.”
Stockton Mayor Kevin Lincoln celebrated the results of the gang takedown, expressing his gratitude to all the agencies involved.
“Enough is enough,” Lincoln said. “We have to protect the residents of this city. We have to protect the future of this city, and that’s our young people, our community. Our children do not deserve to experience what they’ve experienced over the last several months and the long-lasting trauma that lasts as a result of that.”