Ten federal, state and local SWAT teams swept through Fresno early Thursday, arresting members and associates of the southwest Fresno Strother Street Boys Gang on charges of trafficking in and stealing firearms as well as selling drugs, including methamphetamine.
The teams included units from the FBI, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the state Department of Justice and units from Fresno police, Fresno County Sheriff’s Office and the Clovis Police Department. Warrants were served at 23 locations in the Fresno metro area, and a total of 36 gang members were arrested, with many facing federal prosecution on weapons and drug charges that could result in lengthy prison terms if convicted. Allegations against them are made in a federal indictment.
Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said the Strother Boys, who operate in an area from Kearney Boulevard to California Avenue and from Fruit to Thorne avenues, moved to take over as the main force among southwest Fresno gangs after Fresno Police crippled the Dog Pound Gang in a similar operation in April. But the Strother gang itself has been targeted by law enforcement since the high-profile slaying of a Fresno man during a gun store robbery in November of 2015. Dyer said the discovery of a gun stolen during that robbery helped spark the multiagency investigation of the Strother gang.
In recent months, the gang has been responsible for 30 shootings, including several murders, robberies, kidnappings, the theft of firearms and human trafficking, the chief said. The investigation discovered that members were also bringing guns into the state from Nevada and Arizona. About 100 firearms have been seized from gang members and associates since the investigation began, along with 6 pounds of methamphetamine.
Phillip Talbert, the acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California, said 17 members of the gang face charges for the black market sales of guns and crack cocaine. Other charges include possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of a gun in a school zone and possession of methamphetamine for sale.
Said Michal P. Delvecchio, assistant special agent for the BATF in San Francisco: “The biggest issue we face is weapons getting into the hands of gangs, drug traffickers and prohibited persons. The prime goal is to disrupt the firearms trafficking network.”
Multiple FBI officials were also involved in the operation, according to Monica Miller, FBI special agent in charge of the bureau’s Sacramento office.
“We encourage the people of Fresno to reclaim their streets,” she said.