VISALIA, Calif. (AP) — Authorities in central California announced more than two dozen arrests during a gang crackdown following last month’s fatal shootings of six people, including a teenage mother and her baby, that investigators believe stemmed from a gang rivalry.
A four-day sweep by multiple law-enforcement agencies led to the arrests of 26 people on various charges, the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office announced Saturday. A total of 97 homes and 23 prison cells were searched, officials said.
The crackdown began in early February after the sheriff’s office arrested two suspects in the Jan. 16 killings at a home in rural Goshen, a community of about 3,000 people in the agricultural San Joaquin Valley.
Angel Uriarte, 35, and Noah David Beard, 25, have each pleaded not guilty to charges including six counts of murder. Detectives believe Uriarte has ties to a California prison gang.
At least 17 law enforcement agencies participated in the most recent sweep, including the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and local police departments.
“The focus of the operation was to conduct probation and parole compliance checks, as well as, arrest warrant services on known gang members throughout Tulare County,” according to a statement from the sheriff’s office.
At least 18 arrest warrants were served, including nine on Friday in the Visalia and Goshen areas, the statement said. Officials said deputies uncovered methamphetamine, cocaine and several weapons.