Porterville Police & Federal Agents Take Down a Violent Gang

Sweeping Guns and Drugs off Porterville Streets
June 19, 2008 10:08:21 AM PDT
Federal agents teamed up with local police today to take leaders of a violent gang off the streets of Porterville. Investigators say they arrested 18 leaders of the Varrio Central Poros gang or "VCP early this morning. They say the gang has terrorized the streets of Porterville since the 1990s and has only continued to grow, until today.Handguns, rifles and other confiscated guns were spread across a table at the Porterville Police Department. Investigators also seized marijuana and cocaine. The evidence and the arrests of these 18 men are the result of a six month operation involving Porterville Police, Tulare County agencies and the Department of Justice with the goal of taking down leaders of the Varrio Central Poros. Jerry Hunter, Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement, says, "This is the hierarchy of the gang. This is the shot-callers. This is the head of the snake that we're cutting off."

As the streets of central Porterville were becoming more violent, Police Chief Chuck McMillan says he contacted the state Attorney General's office asking for a team of more than 100 detectives to take the VCP gang down. The chief says his department could not have done it alone.

Porterville Police Chief Chuck McMillan says, "We've tried and tried and tried but it seems like we were just scratching the surface of what they were doing."

Wednesday morning, officers stormed 15 locations to arrest the gang members. They served 23 search warrants at different places in the gang's territory including at the apartment complex off North "F" Street.

Jerry Hunter says, "They received a knock on their front door, they were rousted out of bed, and a lot of them are off to prison for a very long time."

Police say the sweep will make a huge impact on the safety of the Porterville community. The gang members were arrested for a number of crimes including burglary and murder.

Chief McMillan says, "When you have an officer go and tell a mother that her son's been shot and killed by gang violence that pretty much does it for you."

Investigators say there are 140 documented members of the VCP gang. They anticipate more arrests. They are still looking for five more leaders of the gang.


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