Fresno gang sweeps finds guns hidden in trees

FRESNO, Calif.

Covering all angles, police showed up in force to the Brookhaven neighborhood in Southwest Fresno. A search warrant covering nine locations led police to recover four guns, including two loaded handguns wrapped in plastic bags and stored in a tree right near the street.

"We know that gang members store their guns in places, on top of tires, inside of cars, outside of cars, waiting for their rivals to show up," said Fresno police Lt. Mark Salazar.

SWAT and probation officers joined members of the street violence and gang units to search those homes and cars Wednesday.

In addition to the three arrests, a handful of people were taken into custody, questioned, then released without being charged.

"That's our job, to go in there, take them on and get those guns off the street, restore a little bit in that neighborhood," Salazar said.

The targets of this search are members of a west Fresno gang who are tied to at least six shootings since the start of the year. One incident is from January 27 where three people were shot outside a southwest Fresno home.

Investigators say those shootings almost always leads to more violence. "We know that if we don't get right in the middle of the gang feuds, we'll have a lot of retaliatory shootings and innocent people could get harmed in that," Lt. Salazar said.

Salazar told Action News shootings are down. So far this year, there have been 27 shootings compared to 40 at the same time last year. Investigators will now begin to pull finger prints and DNA from the recovered guns, which could lead to more arrests. Police say more search warrants will be served in the near future.

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