Standing alongside several state and federal agents Tuesday afternoon, Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer announced that 17 gang members, including leaders of Malos Hechos and the Bulldogs, had been arrested in a joint law enforcement operation. Officers also seized 45 firearms and 80 pounds of methamphetamine during the operation.
Dyer said “Operation Bulldog Tattoo” put a “significant dent” in gang operations and that the Malos Hechos motorcycle gang was “no more.”
Fresno police worked with several agencies to target gang leaders. After the April sweep of the Dog Pound gang, Dyer said, the Police Department had a new way of doing business.
The department’s focus now is “to target those individuals that were leaders of certain gangs, and to be more strategic in who we’re arresting, and that’s really what this operation is about today,” Dyer said during a news conference Tuesday.
Malos Hechos President Christopher Martinez Sr., 45, was arrested on a charge of conspiracy to engage in drug trafficking. Christopher Martinez Jr., 23, who was also listed as president, was arrested on the same charge.
Dyer credits the success of the operation to the agencies involved, including the FBI, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, as well as the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office and California Highway Patrol.
Fresno police first came into contact with Malos Hechos in 2014, when they responded to an assault outside the Crossroads Bar in Fresno. At that time, Dyer said, they knew that the gang was actively trying to recruit members, mostly from existing Bulldogs members.
In April 2015, the ATF, Homeland Security Investigations and Fresno police launched an investigation into firearms trafficking in the area. An undercover agent purchased several guns from Jesse Mendoza as well as several pounds of methamphetamine. This led to Mendoza’s arrest in November on charges that included dealing firearms without a license.
Earlier Tuesday morning, officers from the ATF, Homeland Security Investigations, FBI and local authorities helped execute 14 search warrants in Fresno as well as jail cell searches in the Fresno County Jail and the federal prison in Victorville. A total of 17 arrests were made over the course of the operation, including firearms possession, trafficking and narcotics charges.