Pinedale Bulldogs and Lao Bloods feuding over marijuana trade, Fresno police say

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- With the help of the U.S. Marshals Task Force, Fresno Police served a search warrant Monday at a Pinedale property, belonging to Jeremy Chacon, a Pinedale Bulldog.

Police arrested Chacon for being an ex-felon in possession of two firearms. The handguns are the same caliber as two of three guns used in several shootings committed by Pinedale Bulldogs since the beginning of the year.

Their target was the Lao Bloods, who they're feuding with over the marijuana trade in that area. Three homes belonging to Lao Boys were shot up by Bulldogs.

Chacon's home was also shot up last weekend, according to Fresno Police. He's currently out of jail on bail.

"Since then though, we've been in that neighborhood a lot, our officers, our violent crime impact team officers, our problem oriented policing team," said Fresno Police Lt. Mark Salazar. "Community events have occurred in that neighborhood, so we want to make sure those gang members do not try to take a foothold in that neighborhood."

But Salazar says Bulldogs have been present in Pinedale for decades, and the war between them and the Lao Bloods isn't new. After some back and forth shootings two years ago, Salazar says Fresno Police built a case against the Lao Bloods, only to have it fall apart when a witness didn't come through in court.

"So we knew there was going to be issues again, and sure enough the names that were appearing this year were the names we were dealing with two years ago," Salazar said.

Three years is how long 15-year-old Elius Montalvo has been coming to the Pinedale Boys and Girls Club, where, other than having a safe place to go after school, he's learned some valuable lessons.

"Not to mess around, just take care in school, don't do drugs, and don't get into any gang violence, really isn't worth it," Montalvo said.

"So a lot of our programs like the Street SMART program really focuses on helping these young people build conflict resolution skills, and skills they need to avoid these risky behaviors," said Pinedale Boys and Girls Club Unit Director Tony Garcia.

Montalvo lives right across the street from the Boys and Girls Club. It's just a block away from the house Fresno Police served a search warrant at on Monday. But for him, and most people in Pinedale, gang violence is something they want to go away for good.

"And the people that live there, they want to live violence free too, so we get that, that's why we try and do our best to be there for them so they can have a safe neighborhood," Salazar said.

Fresno police say they will continue with intelligence and search warrants on these gangs in order to keep them off balance.

Through a grant from the Fresno County Sheriff's Office, the Pinedale Boys and Girls Club is now open on Saturdays for teens.
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