SANTA ANA ( — Hundreds of Orange County gang members have been arrested in a joint task force operation, authorities said Tuesday.

KNX 1070’s Mike Landa reports about 800 local, state and federal law enforcement officers took part in “Operation Smokin’ Aces”, during which officers served search warrants and arrested 129 gang members in what is reportedly the largest grand jury indictment in Orange County history.

Officers also seized 22 pounds of methamphetamine, 1.5 pounds of heroin and three pounds of cocaine, along with undercover purchases of 38 handguns and 29 rifles, according to the FBI’s Laura Eimiller.

“Smokin’ Aces” was the task force’s latest operation against the Mexican Mafia in Orange County; in July 2011, authorities announced “Operation Black Flag“, which led to charges against nearly 100 defendants.

According to investigators, members of the Mexican Mafia directed assaults on 12 men in the Orange County Jail for failing to pay drug taxes, including an assault on one victim whose head was stapled 20 times, Landa reported.

“The indictments allege a host of criminal conduct, and provide, quite frankly, a chilling portrait of criminal activity and mayhem,” said U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Andre Birrote.

Multiple agencies took part in the operation, including members of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, the FBI, the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Internal Revenue Service, Santa Ana police, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, and the state Department of Corrections, officials said.


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