A dozen members of an Inland Empire-based motorcycle gang suspected of drug-and gun-trafficking were arrested Thursday in a sweep that also led to the confiscation of hundreds of firearms, California Attorney General Kamala Harris said.
In Riverside, San Bernardino, Imperial, San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties, state and local law enforcement officials executed 52 search warrants at locations used by members of the Vagos International Motorcycle Club.
Twelve men were arrested on suspicion of crimes ranging from murder to illegal drug sales, according to the California Department of Justice.
“There is significant evidence that outlaw motorcycle gangs, like the ones whose members we arrested today, regularly perpetrate serious, violent crimes,” Harris said. “Today’s action will make California safer.”
Operation “Simple Green” has spanned 18 months and included the arrests of 25 people, the seizure of 46 pounds of cocaine, eight pounds of methamphetamine, $37,000 in currency, three stolen vehicles, a grenade launcher, a rocket launcher and body armor, according to state prosecutors.
During Thursday’s segment of the operation, 300 guns were seized, along with thousands of rounds of ammunition, prosecutors said.
Last year, the Vagos sued Riverside County, alleging defamation, after former District Attorney Rod Pacheco suggested individuals affiliated with the gang might be linked to booby-trap attacks on police officers in Hemet during the first half of 2010.
Two men with no apparent ties to the gang were later charged in connection with the assassination attempts.
Both the county and the city of Hemet issued statements of apology to the club, which maintains that it is not a criminal enterprise.