An 11-month undercover federal and state investigation into South Bay drug and gun trafficking and car thefts has resulted in dozens of arrests of suspected gang members in the past few days, authorities said Friday.
Operation Money Train, which began last June, was conducted by agents of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, along with the California Highway Patrol, authorities from Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Benito and Santa Clara counties, the California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement and state and federal prosecutors.
ATF spokeswoman Nina Delgadillo said today arrest warrants have been issued for 52 suspects, primarily suspected Norteno and Sureno gang members in the Salinas, Gilroy, Santa Cruz and Watsonville areas.
Arrests began in the past three days and are still ongoing, Delgadillo said. As of today, 37 suspects have been taken into custody, she said.
Authorities recovered 57 stolen vehicles with an estimated value of $500,000; made 25 undercover firearm purchases; and seized an estimated $1.4 million worth of crystal methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin.
The suspects are expected to face federal charges including firearms possession and drug sales; others will face state drug and possession of a stolen vehicle charges, with possible gang enhancements.