101 alleged Nuestra Familia, Norteno gang members arrested


The attorney general came to Los Banos city hall, where she was joined by a team of local, state and federal officials along with the officers who carried out these raids. The targets were street gangs the state attorney general says are controlled by inmates in the state prison system.

The raids started early, in homes and apartments throughout Los Banos, catching many of the suspected gang members at home, sleeping.

Neighbor Latanya Powe was surprised by all the commotion at her apartment complex. "They had helicopters and swat and everything, they did what they had to do to get them."

Powe says she never had any trouble with those arrested, but said she's glad gang activity is being targeted. "Yeah, well I mean, I have a three year old, I don't want drugs and stuff around my son."

Drugs, guns and cash taken in the raids were put on display by State Attorney General Kamala Harris at a news conference in Los Banos. She said the raids in Los Banos, Dos Palos, Livingston, Atwater, Merced and Madera netted 101 suspected members of two violent gangs.

Harris said, "We have individuals who are associated with a very lethal gang that is mainly run out of the California state prison system, Nuestra Familia, operating in conjunction with local Norteno street gang members, wreaking havoc on this community, committing acts of violence in this community and threatening the safety of everyone in this community."

Many of those arrested will be facing federal charges. U.S. Attorney Ben Wagner says the goal is to keep them out of the state prison system, which has become a center for running organized crime throughout the state.

"One of the remedies is to send people to federal prisons in places like Texas or Pennsylvania or Georgia what have you," said Wagner. "That gets them outside of California, out of touch with their comrades it helps break up the leadership of these very entrenched gangs."

The danger posed by these gangs is clear from the weapons they carry, high caliber assault weapons with illegal magazines capable of holding 30 or more bullets. Gangs have turned the once quiet town of Los Banos into a dangerous place, there were 12 drive by shootings in April and May.

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