MERCED COUNTY - The population may be sparse in the town of Planada but some of the residents know how to stir up big problems. It is the reason Lt. Chuck Hale and thirty other officers are scouting the streets Friday night.
Lt. Chuck Hale of the Merced County Sheriff's Office said, "Whether it be drive-by shooting or vehicles being shot up in particular neighborhoods, they just seem to act with little or no regard for one another out there."
Two rival gangs have made their home in a Merced County neighborhood. In the last two months, violence has spun out of control. At least 11 shootings have been tied to the Planada, Le Grand, and Winton Area.
"There is some drive-by shootings, there is some stolen vehicle incidents, and there has been homicides. And that's what we're targeting at the Sheriff's direction," Sgt. Brankel Nobari of the Merced County Sheriff's Office.
Armed with a list of the names of known troublemakers, Lt. Hale and his team paid them all a visit and it didn't take long to find violations of probation.
"It seems to really depend on how much pressure we put on them and how much presence we have in the community," Lt. Hale said. "As much work as it is tonight searching these homes, there are probably saving themselves some work later on."
As of Friday evening, the compliance checks yielded 12 arrests, deputies confiscated eight guns, even a mace -- they also seized drugs.
If searching a house can stop a shooting, deputies say all this planning, involving three separate departments, is well worth the time.