As reports spread countywide, federal, state and local law enforcement officials were serving search warrants and making arrests in what appears to have been a yearlong effort to take suspected criminals off the streets.
“A violent criminal organization that started out in Woodland years ago and spread throughout Northern California faced a day of reckoning today,” said U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott, opening a press conference at the Robert Matsui federal courthouse in Sacramento. “… several agencies culminated this morning in the execution of 39 federal search warrants and 30 parole and probation searches at locations in Oregon, Pennsylvania, and (11) California counties.”
Scott went on to say that those searches had been the result of months of investigation into a gang that allegedly originated in Woodland decades past: Varrio Bosque Nortenos.
Morning raids yielded 18 arrests in the 11 counties, 34 weapons, hundreds of pounds of illegal cannabis, methamphetamine as well as butane hash oil, cocaine and 52 empty bottles of codeine syrup.
The raids were in no way affiliated with immigration issues, and in fact, Scott said nearly every arrested individual was a U.S. citizen.
Woodland Police Chief Luis Soler and Yolo District Attorney Jeff Reisig also spoke out about the arrests and said that people were safer for the effort.
“It’s been a long day, it’s been a long night for the citizens of Woodland, the Police Department, for all of us here,” said Soler, motioning to the authorities behind him. “We’ve been working hard from the wee hours of the morning making sure that this is a successful operation.”
Soler, who only became the chief of police in June 2017, said a lot of people on social media commended the efforts of the law enforcement officers after the raids. He said he was pleased with Wednesday morning’s work as well.
“When you have that many law enforcement officers descending on so many target locations, things can go wrong,” he said. “I’m proud to say today that we made this happen and not one single officer, suspect or citizen was injured; and that is a great feat.”
FBI Special Agent in Charge Sean Ragan and California Department of Corrections Secretary Scott Kernan also commented, adding detail on the history of the investigation.
Reisig, who has been battling gang violence in Woodland and Yolo County for years, also commended the efforts of combined forces.