Sweep aimed at Westside San Bernardino gang leads to 22 arrests

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Sweep aimed at Westside San Bernardino gang leads to 22 arrests

Post  TumbleWeed on Thu May 27, 2010 3:13 pm

Sweep aimed at Westside gang leads to 22 arrests
Stacia Glenn, Staff Writer
Posted: 05/26/2010 06:34:17 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO - Using wiretaps, investigators targeted a Westside gang in a year-long narcotics operation that culminated Wednesday with 22 arrests during a large-scale sweep.

Scooped up in the early morning raid of the Delmann Heights Ghetto Boys were major drug dealers and a barber who filed a $5 million claim against the city alleging excessive force during his arrest last October.

"They've been responsible for robberies, burglaries and homicides and being one of the more violent gangs in the city, it gave us an opportunity to look at them," said Lt. Ron Maass. "This is what we hoped for. But we're not done."

San Bernardino police worked with county, state and federal authorities to serve 39 warrants early
San Bernardino County Sheriff Rod Hoops looks over a table full of weapons, drugs and gang-related items taken in as evidence during a multiagency sweep targeting the Delmann Heights Ghetto Boys, aka Delmann Heights Bloods, on Wednesday. Investigators targeted the San Bernardino Westside gang in a year-long narcotics operation, including the use of wiretaps, that culminated with 22 arrests during a large-scale sweep. (Al Cuizon/Staff Photographer)
Wednesday. Homes in Victorville, Moreno Valley and Perris were also hit.

Authorities seized 32 pounds of methamphetamine, $20,000 cash, 10 guns, two vehicles and a plethora of gang paraphernalia.

"Those are hardcore drugs that were here to be peddled in our city," said Mayor Pat Morris. "That kind of product broken down at the street level would have broken the minds of hundreds of thousands of young people."

The gang, which was targeted with an injunction seven years ago, claims 200 members and began gaining notoriety two decades ago.

One of its associates was highlighted Wednesday by police because his initial arrest Oct. 19 drew outrage when a video of his scuffle with police was captured on cell phone video and posted on YouTube.

Darren Johnson, 44, has claimed that officers used excessive force when they took him into custody in a 7-Eleven parking lot.

Although police remained mum about the circumstances surrounding Johnson's arrest, Police Chief Keith Kilmer said Wednesday that he was elated to finally be able to talk about the case.

Authorities were monitoring Johnson for this operation and after pulling him over for a traffic violation, police say they found 6.8 grams of rock cocaine on him.

"That side of the story needs to be told," Kilmer said.

Johnson has been charged with resisting arrest, possession of drugs for sale and conspiracy, with a gang enhancement. He remains jailed on $150,000 bail.

Carl Douglas, an attorney who is representing Johnson in his civil lawsuit, did not return a call for comment Wednesday.

Kilmer said the internal investigation is complete and officers were found to have acted appropriately during their October run-in with Johnson.

Other arrests include Percy Goodwill Jr., who was charged in 2008 with punching his pregnant girlfriend in the stomach and using his vehicle to pin her against a chain link fence; and Wilbur Murray, whom investigators said was a shotcaller and well-known drug dealer within the Delmann Heights gang.

A top-ranking official with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives described the raid as a significant takedown.

"I guarantee the city of San Bernardino is safer tonight than it was 24 hours ago," said Special Agent in Charge John Torres.


Read more: http://www.sbsun.com/ci_15169062#ixzz0p9u0JXg0
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Re: Sweep aimed at Westside San Bernardino gang leads to 22 arrests

Post  TumbleWeed on Thu May 27, 2010 3:17 pm

One of its associates was highlighted Wednesday by police because his initial arrest Oct. 19 drew outrage when a video of his scuffle with police was captured on cell phone video and posted on YouTube.

Darren Johnson, 44, has claimed that officers used excessive force when they took him into custody in a 7-Eleven parking lot.

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Re: Sweep aimed at Westside San Bernardino gang leads to 22 arrests

Post  TumbleWeed on Thu May 27, 2010 3:29 pm

When a grainy cell-phone video of Darren Johnson's arrest surfaced last fall, San Bernardino police said little.

They declined to respond to allegations that officers had used excessive force in detaining the local barber who had been riding his motorcycle through town. They would not say why the 44-year-old, who filed a $5 million claim for damages, was released without charges.

But on Wednesday, at the conclusion of a yearlong, wiretap-aided operation, police announced that Johnson was actually a member of a gang drug ring they were slowly building evidence against.

He was one of 15 people charged with conspiracy, possession of controlled substances for sale and street gang involvement. Operation Barber of Seville, as it was dubbed, netted 32 pounds of methamphetamine, $20,000 cash and ten weapons.

"That side of the story needs to be told as well," San Bernardino police Chief Keith Kilmer said at an afternoon news conference.

Seven of the 15 people charged were arrested Wednesday during an all-day takedown that spanned from San Bernardino's High Desert to Southwest Riverside County. Also Wednesday, seven more were arrested on charges stemming from the 35 search warrants served.

The operation targeted the Delmann Heights Bloods, a gang that started in northwest San Bernardino decades ago. One hundred and fifty officers and agents from local, state and federal agencies participated.

"We're disrupting their economy," said San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos.

Detectives were already listening in on the gang via a wiretap when Johnson was stopped on his motorcycle Oct. 19. The man's attorney has claimed that officers targeted him because he is black, and that police beat him with a baton for no reason.

Video of the arrest was posted on YouTube, and drew wide attention.

But officers said that Johnson was carrying 2.8 grams of rock cocaine, on his way to a drug deal, and resisted arrest.

They used a baton to restrain him, something that Kilmer said Wednesday was within policy and will not result in punishment.

"This individual was involved in the illegal transaction of narcotics," Kilmer said. "That was on the officers' minds."

Carl E. Douglas, an attorney representing Johnson in his civil claim against the city, did not return a call for comment. In addition to the conspiracy, drug and gang charges, Johnson also faces a count of resisting an officer.

According to a criminal complaint filed in San Bernardino County Superior Court, he and others were caught on wiretap and through informants transporting and selling cocaine base in numerous transactions, including the night of the taped arrest.

Wednesday the drugs were laid on a table along with various gang paraphernalia, a probation department uniform shirt, shotguns and a bill sorter.

San Bernardino police Lt. Ron Maass, commander of the department's vice/narcotics unit, said that Delmann Heights operates a mid-to-upper-level drug sales operation in comparison with other city gangs. He said the 32 pounds of meth were found in one home.
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Re: Sweep aimed at Westside San Bernardino gang leads to 22 arrests

Post  Guest on Thu May 27, 2010 7:19 pm

your first post said 6.8grams of crack and the second post said 2.8gs thats a big ass discrepency...coupled with the fact that they whipped his ass. Might turn out to be much more than what is known at present. Of course, the news always gets the facts twisted

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