Thirteen people were arrested during a multi-agency operation targeting the Santa Ana-based Townsend Street gang, which officials described as one of the most violent and active in Orange County.
The monthslong investigation dubbed "Operation Black Rhino" culminated in raids at 15 locations throughout Orange County. In addition, deputies at the Orange County Jail searched the cells of inmates associated with the violent gang, officials said in announcing the arrests Thursday.
Santa Ana police released video of the raids that identified the following 11 suspects: Jairo Echeverria, 25; Jaime Garcia, 28; Fernando Cuevas; Alexis Lara, 24; Giovanni Marcial, 27; Ricardo Solorio, 19; Omar Valencia Montes, 23; Jordan Castaneda, 21; Carlos Daniel Godinez Sanchez, 19; Alexander Laur, 24; Fernando Guerrero, 35; and Edgar Calvo, 26.
Several of the people arrested Thursday had prior convictions and felony arrests including for attempted murder and murder, Santa Ana police Chief Dave Valentin said during a news conference Thursday. Two were in violation of their probation.
Five guns, including an assault rifle, a bulletproof vest, 3 pounds of drugs and $16,000 in cash were seized during the investigation, Valentin said.
"These are the tools of the trade for violent street street gangs in this county," Orange County DA Todd Spitzer said. "These are violent individuals engaged in extreme and outrageous unlawful behavior who are ruining communities and taking over."
Officials said the Townsend Street gang is one of the oldest and most prolific gangs in Orange County. Spitzer said authorities are working to curb the gang’s influence on young people.
The Fullerton, Anaheim, Whittier and La Habra police departments, along with the FBI and several federal agencies, assisted in the investigation.