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Orange County drug bust: 85 arrested; cache of arms, drugs seized

Published On: 05-18-2018 in Category: Drug trafficking

Orange County drug bust: 85 arrested; cache of arms, drugs seized

An investigation into a 2016 murder in San Juan Capistrano led to the arrest of 85 Sureños gang members whose operations in Orange County were mostly guided by the Mexican mafia. The three-month probe also resulted in the seizure of 14 pounds of methamphetamine, three pounds of heroin, and 36 firearms. According to authorities, the murder victim had ties with the street gang.

Local and state law enforcement agencies had for long been working in tandem to solve the homicide case. However, the efforts to crack the case revealed a complex web of gang activity leading to mass arrests, which are sure to hit hard the underground operations of the Mexican mafia. The investigation, dubbed “Operation Scarecrow,” was a joint effort by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, the California Highway Patrol, and the state Department of Justice.

Though the authorities hailed it as a major success, Orange County Undersheriff Don Barnes was quick to point out that the arrests were nothing more than just a “drop in the bucket.” He said the Mexican mafia had far larger control over gang activity across the length and breadth of Southern California. “We share this information not to scare the public but to remind the residents of Orange County that this is a reality we face. Criminal gang enterprises still continue to prey upon our community and we have to do everything we can to fight back,” Barnes said.

Interestingly, nearly half of the arrested people happened to be women. This once again brings to light the active role played by women in gang activities. Meanwhile, Orange County prosecutors have filed several serious charges against the suspects.

Meth and heroin in America

Despite several measures by authorities of both the countries to curb cross-border drug trafficking, the bonhomie between American street gangs and Mexican drug cartels only seems to be gaining strength. After a brief hiatus, the cartels have once again been able to flood the American streets with pure and low-cost meth and heroin. The resurgence can especially be witnessed in Texas, California, Ohio, and Montana, the states already in the grip of the ongoing opioid and heroin epidemic.

In the past few years, heroin has made rapid inroads not only in the cities but also in remote areas. According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), more than 948,000 people reported using heroin in the past year. What is even more disturbing is the fact that it’s the young adults in the age group of 18-25 who are increasingly using the drug.

Leading a drug-free life

Stopping the drug supply channel is not the only solution. While it is important to limit the access of drugs to the end users, it is also equally important to drive them to seek treatment. Awareness and treatment can make the war on drugs effective.

If you or your loved one is battling an addiction to meth, heroin or any other substance, seek treatment immediately. The Orange County Drug Treatment and Rehab Center can help you access the best addiction treatment program and embark on your journey to sobriety. You may call at our 24/7 helpline number (714) 202-4669 for more information.

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