FRESNO, CA. (KMJ) — The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office held a news conference Friday announcing the results of a multi-agency investigation.
Lucky Charm began early this year and focused on a local gang and its ties to illegal activity within the California prison system.
Sheriff Margaret Mims joined by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott, Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp and FBI Sean Regan participated in a Zoom call at various off-site locations.
Click to listen to the report by KMJ’s Liz Kern:
Stetement from AG Becerra’s office:
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced the arrest of 50 individuals, the seizure of four firearms, illegal drugs including methamphetamine and heroin, and over $40,000 as part of a takedown of alleged members of the Aryan Brotherhood and the Fresnecks street gang in Fresno County. The arrests were the result of a multiagency investigation by the California Department of Justice, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations – Office of Correctional Safety (CDCR), the California Highway Patrol (CHP), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), as well as the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California and the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office.
“Working alongside local, state, and federal law enforcement partners, we’ve zeroed in and taken down alleged members of two criminal organizations with a history of violent crime in Fresno and throughout California,” said Attorney General Becerra. “The success of this operation highlights the way multiagency collaboration can help keep our communities safe. Thank you to all of the individuals who made this operation a success.”
The Aryan Brotherhood and Fresnecks are violent organizations with significant resources, which they use to purchase, possess, and distribute firearms and controlled substances. These groups are also responsible for home invasions, murders, kidnappings, large scale identity theft and fraud, as well as other violent crimes within Fresno County and throughout California.
On November 19, 2020, law enforcement agencies executed 26 search warrants and 65 arrest warrants in Fresno County, Los Angeles County, San Luis Obispo County, Santa Barbara County, and Tulare County. Over the course of the investigation into the Aryan Brotherhood, Fresnecks, and their associates, 102 arrests were made, and 47 firearms, 89 pounds of methamphetamine, 5.75 pounds of heroin, and $136,156 were seized.
The California Department of Justice took part in this multiagency investigation through the work of its Special Operations Unit — a collaborative investigative effort between the California Department of Justice and the California Highway Patrol that provides statewide enforcement for combating violent career criminals, gangs, and organized crime groups, along with intrastate drug traffickers. These unique and essential teams use the latest technology and advanced investigative techniques and work alongside local law enforcement to enhance investigations into violent criminals and organized crime throughout the state.
Under Attorney General Becerra’s leadership, the California Department of Justice has made a tenacious effort to work with local law enforcement agencies throughout California to target gang activity, making hundreds of arrests related to gang activity. Those collaborative actions include:
- In May 2017, an operation targeting the Sureño criminal street gang subsets and their criminal enterprise directed by the Mexican Mafia prison gang in Merced County;
- In June 2017, an operation resulting in the arrest of individuals, including validated gang members belonging to the Sureño gang, one of the most violent gangs in San Bernardino County;
- In November 2017, an operation taking down gang members from the Mexican mafia and members of the Mexican drug cartel in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Orange Counties;
- In December 2017, an operation resulting in the arrest of individuals, including members of the MOB, Flyboys, East Coast Crips, Conway Gangsters, Sierra Vista Project and Glock Team gangs in Stockton;
- In August 2018, an operation targeting the MS-13 criminal street gang operating in the Central Valley and several states across the U.S.;
- In October 2018, an operation to dismantle the largest criminal street gang in Riverside county;
- In June 2019, an operation targeting Norteño street gangs engaged in criminal activity in Kings and Tulare Counties;
- In July 2019, an operation as part of an effort to dismantle alleged Norteño street gang activity in Stanislaus County;
- In November 2019, an operation as part of the takedown targeting the Norteño street gang in Stockton;
- In December 2019, an operation targeting the criminal activities of the Country Boy Crips street gang, located in south Bakersfield; and
- In January 2020, an operation targeting criminal activities by the Casa Blanca Gangster Crips criminal street gang located in the neighborhood of Casa Blanca in south Riverside.
1) Kenneth Bash, aka “Bash” of Salinas Valley State Prison (drug trafficking)
2) Robert Eversole, aka “Rage,” of Kern Valley State Prison (firearms and drug trafficking)
3) Stephanie Madsen of Torrance (drug trafficking)
4) Todd Morgan, aka “Fox,” of Salinas Valley State Prison (drug trafficking)
5) David Zachocki, aka “Lil David Z,” of Lodi (felon in possession of a firearm)
6) Cody Brown of Atascadero (drug trafficking)
7) Regina Broomall, aka “G,” of Santa Maria (firearms trafficking)
8) Geoffrey Guess, aka “Active,” of Fresno (firearms trafficking)
9) Angel Lopez, aka “Rascal,” of Salinas Valley State Prison (drug trafficking)
10) Joseph McWilliams, aka “Janky,” (drug trafficking, felon in possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense)
11) James Armstrong (drug trafficking)
12) Marlon Palmer, aka “P-Nut,” of Salinas Valley State Prison (drug trafficking)
13) Samantha Booth of Clovis (drug trafficking)
14) Jacob Renshaw, aka “Shredder,” in custody in Montana (drug trafficking)
15) Amanda Gourley, aka “Biggie,” of Fresno (drug trafficking)
The Fresno County District Attorney’s office has charged more than 30 people in connection with this investigation for gang conspiracy, fraud and violent crimes including kidnapping, carjacking, assault with a firearm and arson.
As part of this operation, 39 federal and state search warrants were served in Fresno, Santa Maria, Los Angeles, and Montana. Multiple guns, and over 7 pounds of methamphetamine, prescription pills and heroin were found and seized as a result of these searches. Additionally, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation conducted searches of 63 cells in 14 state prisons in California related to this investigation. Among the items seized in the prisons were cellphones and drugs.
This investigation was conducted by the California Department of Justice and California Highway Patrol Special Operations Unit, the Multi-Agency Gang Enforcement Consortium (MAGEC), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, the Fresno Police Department, and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Special Services Unit (SSU).
Assisting in the arrests were the U.S. Marshals Service, the Bishop Police Department, and the Clovis Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephanie Stokman and Thomas Newman, and Fresno County Deputy District Attorneys Robert Veneman-Hughes and Dennis Lewis are handling the prosecutions.
The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.