Fresno gang operation with Homeland Security nets 52 arrests, unusual gun seizures

Fresno police worked with federal agents this past week in a surprise citywide operation that led to 52 arrests and more than a dozen gun seizures.

The operation was an immediate response to an uptick in gang violence, namely four shootings that happened on May 19 in northwest Fresno between rival gangs, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said at a new conference Tuesday afternoon.

For the next five days, May 20 through 24, 70 personnel from Fresno police, MAGEC and Homeland Security Investigations served 12 search warrants around the city. Officers also conducted traffic stops along with probation and parole searches.

Of the 52 arrests, 43 of the men have felony charges against them, and 37 were active gang members. None of the arrested were undocumented immigrants, Dyer noted.

Dyer said at least some of the arrested will be prosecuted federally on charges of gun possession.

Of the 13 guns seized from the operation, some were atypical.

“These are not your typical handguns that are being seized off of the streets,” Dyer said.

Glock conversion device

The chief described a Glock semi-automatic handgun that was changed into fully automatic weapon with an extended magazine, “making this weapon far more dangerous and less accurate.”

The device used to change the weapon can be easily obtained online, and Dyer said police have been finding more of these weapons lately in the hands of gang members.

Dyer also showed off a gun with a suppressor, and expressed worry that weapons like them would not trigger ShotSpotter and alert police.

Although shootings have been declining since 2017’s high of 516 incidents, Dyer said homicides are up by 25% this year compared to 2018.

Of the 20 homicides so far in 2019, at least 10 of those have involved gang members, according to Dyer.

There have been 132 shootings this year, a decline of 17% compared to last year.

Ashleigh Panoo: 559-441-6010, @AshleighPanoo
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