PASADENA (CBS/AP) — Law enforcement officials unsealed three federal indictments on Thursday that charge 24 alleged members and associates of a Pasadena street gang with operating a widespread narcotics network in Southern California.
The announcement and 12 arrests capped an 18-month multi-agency drug trafficking investigation dubbed “Operation Rosebud.”
FBI Special Agent in Charge Tim Delaney with the L.A. Office told KNX1070’s Pete Demetriou: “Two of the defendants were already in custody. Two of the defendants have been deported. Three of the defendants are unidentified subjects. Twelve defendants were arrested this morning. Five are considered fugitives.”
The operation targeted the Varrio Pasadena Rifa street gang, which is suspected of selling and distributing methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin in the San Gabriel and Antelope valleys. Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez said the drugs came from the Mexican Sinaloa cartel.
“We have a Sinaloa infusion that is coming to the Southern California region and it has arrived here,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said at a news conference. “Today is one step forward in eradicating this influence.”
Investigators said they seized meth, heroin and cocaine with a street value of $2.5 million.
Ten federal search warrants were also executed to seek evidence linked to the operation, and five children were removed and referred to the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, said Timothy Delaney, special agent in charge of the FBI’s criminal division.
Federal and local law enforcement were attempting to apprehend the fugitives Thursday and only named two who they’re hoping the public can help them locate.
The fugitives are Osvaldo Hernandez Limas, 39, of Lancaster, and Juan Carlos Garcia, 26, of Norwalk, according to a multi-agency press release.
Sanchez said Varrio Pasadena Rifa is a generational street gang and those indicted are shot-callers in the hierarchy of the gang.
“It’ll make a significant dent in some of the local distribution and sales of methamphetamine here in Pasadena and the other areas as well,” Sanchez said.
The defendants will be prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office in the Central District of California.
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)