FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Fresno Police Department has provided an update on a violent armed robbery that happened in Northeast Fresno.
In a joint news conference on Thursday, Fresno police, alongside state and national agencies, announced the arrests of eight men connected to a violent armed robbery.
Officers said they are still looking for three more suspects in connection to the robbery that happened around 3 am on November 27, 2022, at the HabibTea hookah lounge.
Police said as the lounge was closing, a group of armed men forced their way inside and violently assaulted and robbed customers and employees.
"There was cooperation between these two gangs, they were heavily armed. This was a very well-planned operation and again they were very violent, so we knew that if we were not proactive that this was going to happen again and again," Balderrama said.
Because of the gang affiliation, this case was passed on to the department's MAGEC team.
Police - along with state and federal agencies - served 12 search warrants early Wednesday morning.
"What we are trying to do is just take violent felons off the street, take dangerous firearms that are being misused off of the streets and make our community safer, that is the end goal in any one of these operations," the chief said.
Eight of the suspects were found and arrested along with several firearms seized during the searches, Including this semi-automatic shotgun and other high-powered weapons.
Investigators have identified the eight suspects as:
Detectives are now asking for the public's help in locating three more men.
From left to right:
Ryan Demmon, a Supervisory Special Agent with the FBI, said to reduce violent crimes like the armed robbery, they are focusing on the drivers of the violence.
"This incident is a glaring example of the level of violence that gangs will use and leverage to exert control and instill fear," Demmon said.
The chief says he's calling on the Fresno mayor and city council to have tighter regulations on hookah lounges. He also says to expect more of these types of operations throughout the year.
Anyone with information on the suspect's locations is asked to contact detectives.
Stay with ABC30 for the latest details on this developing story.