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Post  unidentifiedOG on Thu Nov 24, 2011 8:19 am

An extensive drug distribution investigation that started in 2008 concluded Wednesday with 21 alleged members of a Chino street gang and associates charged in federal indictments.
Officials made about 16 arrests Wednesday.

The operation put a significant dent in the "Chino Sinners," a street gang responsible for crimes ranging from drug sales to homicides for 60 years, Chino Police Chief Miles Pruitt said.

"Their influence and impact was mainly in the downtown area," he said Wednesday during a press conference. "They struck fear in the hearts of people there."

Chino police officers joined forces with the FBI as well as state and local law enforcement agencies for "Operation Redemption," using several

Chino Police Chief Miles Pruitt stands with his officers on Wednesday at a news conference to announce the indictment of alleged members and associates of the Chino street gang known as Chino Sinners in connection with a narcotics distribution ring with ties reportedly to the Mexican Mafia in Chino. Police, the FBI and others on Wednesday made about 16 arrests. The gang's main influence was downtown Chino. "They struck fear in the hearts of people there," Pruitt said. (Thomas R. Cordova/Staff Photographer)
different tactics to target the gang believed to have ties to the Mexican Mafia.
The defendants were at the Riverside federal court for initial appearances Wednesday, FBI officials said.

Most of the charges include distribution of controlled substances, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and unlawful possession of firearms, said Don Roberts, supervising special agent for the FBI in Riverside.

The drug of choice was methamphetamine, Roberts said, but gang members allegedly distributed cocaine, marijuana and heroin as well.

The suspects - mostly Chino, Pomona and Ontario residents - are accused of distributing narcotics throughout San Bernardino, Riverside and Los Angeles counties, officials said.

"The gang network we disrupted today will hopefully make a difference in this community," Roberts said, "as well as clean up violence and improve the overall quality of life."

Officials believe the Chino-based gang has direct connections with the Mexican Mafia.

Several of those arrested Wednesday were charged with allegedly transporting heroin into the state prison system for Frederick Garcia, who is suspected of being the Mexican Mafia's liaison for Chino, according to a news release by the FBI, the state Department of Justice and Chino police.

Garcia was moved from state to federal custody Wednesday.

"The indictment alleges that defendant Frederick Garcia sent messages from inside the California Institution for Men in Chino to various defendants in order to direct the importation of heroin and other controlled substances in prison," according to the news release.

With help from the FBI, Chino police were able to use resources like wiretaps, which led to the arrests.

"Those things are significant and critical to pull off this type of operation," Pruitt said.

Other agencies involved in the investigation include the state Department of Justice, state parole and probation officials, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Marshal's Service, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department and the District Attorney's Office, and Ontario, Montclair, Fontana and Upland police departments.

Operation Redemption comes on the heels of another gang takedown in Ontario in April.

Ontario police and the FBI concluded a 17-month investigation that resulted in the arrest of 52 alleged gang members tied to the Mexican Mafia.


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