More than 200 officers from the FBI, Richmond Police Department and the Department of Justice arrested dozens of people during a series of raids on homes in Richmond as an investigation into violence, guns and drugs cames to a head.
Authorities are calling the sweep a "major gang crackdown." Its code name was "Operation Showdown."
Early Thursday morning, agents served more than 40 search warrants and 43 arrest warrants at undisclosed Richmond locations as part of an ongoing gang enforcement operation.
Among those taken into custody was an employee of the city of Richmond.
Our news helicopter followed a caravan of officers, many in riot gear, as they drove from a parking lot staging area to a house in Richmond near 2nd Street and Bissel Avenue.
Eight officers hung off the side of a truck as they entered the neighborhood. They burst through the door and let off at least one explosive while inside. Apparently the suspect or suspects were not there. There were no visible arrests.
Right next door, two young children were seen playing in their backyard, just a few feet away from the action. They did not seem to notice the officers, but did wave to the helicopter.
At another bust in Richmond, police officers from Petaluma and Pleasanton were at the scene assisting the arrests.
Along with the gang busts, police are also booking people on drug and prostitution charges.
The Oakland Tribune reported agents used flash bang grenades, gun-sniffing dogs and a helicopter to conduct aerial surveillance.
The majority of the raids happened in Richmond's "Iron Triangle" neighborhood, but busts were also reported in Marin County, Alameda County and Sacramento.
"Tragically, gang activity is deeply embedded in many communities and is spreading throughout rural California," said Attorney General Jerry Brown. "Despite the state’s budget crisis, I intend to do everything I can to help local police and sheriffs curb the escalating gang violence plaguing our state."
Last year there were 47 homicides and 350 shootings in Richmond and well over half of them are attributed to members of the "Deep C" gang.
Brown spokeswoman Christine Gasparac said Deep C, short for "Deep Central," is one of the area's most notorious gangs.
"They're one of the big ones in Richmond," she said. "The other one is the Project Trojans."
"There's a whole gang war between the two," Gasparac said.
Cops say the gang engages in drug trafficking, robbery, assault and prostitution. They say residential neighborhoods are often ground zero for some of the gang’s most violent activity.
Here are the results by the numbers:
During a three-month period, undercover officers said they made more than 50 drug buys and five gun buys from 42 people, including 8 gang members, 13 gang associates and five parolees.
The undercover officers said they were able to purchase more than 300 grams of methamphetamine and were also able to purchase heroin and marijuana.
In all, 25 people arrested.
Agents also seized some six pounds of methamphetamine, 42 pounds of pot, 21 guns and more than $101,000 in cash.
One of the search warrants yielded 186 marijuana plants capable of producing up to 8 pounds of marijuana buds per plant.