News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 22, 2006
Contact: Darrel Paskett
Number: 559-443-8102

33 Arrested in West Fresno Drug Bust
Suspected Gang Members Nabbed and 37 lbs of ‘Ice’ Seized
in Joint Operation

photo - 37 lbs of Meth seized
37 lbs of Meth seized in the Operation

(FRESNO, CA) – Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Javier F. Pena, Eastern District of California U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer, Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Stephen K. Martin and Fresno County District Attorney Elizabeth Egan announced the arrest of 33 individuals as part of a joint operation targeting drug dealers and gang members in West Fresno.

In addition to the arrests, 37 lbs of “ice” methamphetamine, 2.5 lbs of crack cocaine, 2.2 lbs of cocaine, $122,000 in cash, two assault pistols, two assault rifles, one high-powered rifle, one sawed-off shotgun, and six other firearms were seized.

At the request of Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer, a team of special agents from the DEA – known as a Mobile Enforcement Team (MET) – were deployed to Fresno in October 2005 to target drug trafficking organizations and gangs operating on the city’s west side. During the course of the investigation approximately 20 federal and state search warrants were served targeting distribution locations throughout the area. Many of these warrants were served in the vicinity of public schools and public housing areas.

“Mobile Enforcement Teams were designed to help communities like Fresno deal with drug traffickers who have set-up shop in their neighborhoods. We come in to take them out – it’s that simple,” said SAC Javier F. Pena.

Of the 33 individuals arrested, 18 were the result of federal indictments and 15 were arrested for state violations. Outstanding federal arrest warrants remain for Oscar Chavez, 24, of Madera, and Gregory Lee Simpson, 47, of Fresno.

“I commend Police Chief Dyer’s leadership in calling in the troops to aggressively pursue drug trafficking in Fresno,” said U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott. “The results of this collaborative crackdown speak for themselves: 33 arrests, and the seizure of 37 pounds of 'ice' methamphetamine, nearly 5 pounds of cocaine, and 12 firearms.”

Chief Dyer said, “With the help of the D.E.A., the A.T.F. and the Department of Justice, the Fresno Police Department has sent a strong message to drug dealers and users: you will not take over our neighborhoods.”

“Indiscriminant violence is often caused by armed drug dealers. Working together, we are confident that the MET team approach is an effective way to disrupt violence that can harm innocent citizens,” stated Special Agent in Charge Stephen K. Martin of ATF’s San Francisco Field Division.

District Attorney Elizabeth A. Egan stated, “This is an example of the positive impact law enforcement can have when we work together in a collaborative effort.”

This case is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of California and the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office. The charges are only allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.