Teenage taggers arrested for weapons and drug charges

FRESNO, Calif.

The youngest of the three arrested is just 13 years old. Police said they found the teen boys with drugs and a loaded gun.

The stop happened as officers with the Violent Crime Impact Team were patrolling Southeast Fresno Friday evening. The officers noticed a minivan full of teens who were acting suspicious and when they pulled the van over the officers realized the teens were armed.

Inside the van police found a bag of illegal narcotics and a loaded hand gun. The stop, police said, likely prevented a violent crime.

"Three guys running around with a loaded gun... words get exchanged and the next thing you know they start firing out of the vehicle," said Lt. Mike Doyle with the Fresno Police Department.

Tagging crews are growing more violent, police said. Last month, for example, 17-year-old Junior Villareal was stabbed to death at a bus stop on Kings Canyon near Peach in Southeast Fresno.

Police said Villareal was stabbed after he and a friend got into a fight with a group of taggers.

"They are violent gang members. They are no longer graffiti artists people think they are," said Lt. Doyle.

All three of the teens arrested Friday will be charged with possession of the gun and drugs, according to police. Their names have not been released. But, at least one of the boys was allowed to go home with his mother.

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