Dozens arrested in Merced gang sweep

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Dozens of firearms and thousands of rounds in ammo seized, and more than 50 gang members arrested, after a massive crime operation in Merced County. (KFSN)

Dozens of firearms and thousands of rounds in ammo seized, and more than 50 gang members arrested, after a massive crime operation in Merced County.

"Some of the most violent criminals in our community have been taken off our streets, along with the cash and weapons they use to commit murder and mayhem," said Larry Morse, Merced County DA.

The multi-agency operation called "Operation Scrapbook" involved almost 500 law enforcement personnel from the federal, state, and local level coming together to target gang activity in the Merced County area.



Morse said the operation stemmed from a recent increase in gang activity because of a power struggle for control in the county.

"Having had very successful operations in the last couple of years targeting Norteno gangs, we began to see that the Surreno's were starting to fill the void."

The intelligence gathered from the several months-long operation also helped in providing local detectives information regarding at least eight homicides, and prevented about 16 additional crimes.

"We've got a lot of bad people in this county, and the fact we have that many weapons and ammunition off the streets in today's operation, means this is going to be an impact here locally," said Vern Warnke, Merced County Sheriff.

Authorities also seized several pounds of meth in the raids, along with $170,000. They said these criminals are never going to go away completely, but the fight isn't over.

"We will continue to investigate and apprehend individuals who jeopardize the safety of our community," said Monica Miller, FBI.

"You are dealing with way smarter, way better funded, and way more committed people than you'll ever be, and we will not rest until we knock your operations out," said Morse.

Authorities said there are still about three to four people they still hope to arrest soon.

Some of those arrested will be prosecuted by the US Attorney's Office in Fresno, while others are prosecuted by the Merced County District Attorney's Office.

Related Topics:
merced countygangsurenos gangMerced
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