Sheriff's office 'Operation Gold Star' leads to multiple arrests, firearms, drugs

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A major law enforcement operation in the Fresno County mountains on Wednesday.

It started with knocks at doors. Deputies and officers showed up unannounced to do compliance checks on probationers, parolees, registered sex offenders, and known arsonists. Those not in compliance were handcuffed and put into the back of a van to be driven to jail.

The Fresno County Sheriff's Office led 'Operation Gold Star' in rural parts of the county.

"An operation like this is weeks in the planning," said Fresno County Sheriff's Office Sergeant Preston Little.

A total of 125 officers from 14 different agencies took part, including Fresno County Probation, Clovis Police Department and the Kerman Police Department.

They split up into 11 different teams and targeted outlying areas such as Shaver Lake, Prather, Auberry, Squaw Valley, and Dunlap.

The terrain where many of the homes are presented its own challenges.

"This isn't going into a suburban neighborhood. Almost every single one of these locations is surrounded by trees or off the beaten path and they're not expecting us today," said Sgt. Little.

Officials said even rural areas aren't free of gang members.

"We are actively hitting the targets of gangsters who are trying to hide in the mountains even though they're doing their crime in the metro area." said Sgt. Little.

Along with finding those targets, officers seized at least two firearms and a small amount of heroin during the operation.

Officials hope the operation sends a positive message to mountain residents.

"The sheriff's office supports you, we're actively investigating your cases, we're actively suppressing crime in this region and we're mountain strong, just with the sheriff's office." Sgt. Little said.

The Fresno County Sheriff's Office had about 100 targets Wednesday. At last check, around 20 people had been arrested on various charges.
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