STOCKTON (CBS13) – Twenty-three people are behind bars after a major gang sweep spearheaded by the Stockton Police Department. Investigators seized various weapons and narcotics after a citywide raid on Wednesday.
“Getting gang members, violent criminals, weapons and narcotics off our streets is an ongoing process to make Stockton the best that it can be,” said Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones.
The people arrested face more than 60 felony charges, combined, for offenses including possession of narcotics, conspiracy, theft, and promoting gang activity
“This was an outstanding operation to dismantle a very violent gang in Stockton,” Jones said at press conference on Thursday.
For the last two years, Stockton Police Department has its eyes on the North Side Gangster Crips. Police Chief Jones called on several agencies including the Stockton FBI, Tracy PD, and ATF. Together, they tackled Operation Blue Storm: the joint effort to take down the gang.
“The North Side Gangster Crips (NSGC) were involved in at least four shooting incidents that would have otherwise gone possibly unreported and unsolved,” Jones said.
The opperation came to a head on Wednesday after a round of raids throughout the city. Officers made 16 total stops seizing cocaine, heroin, prescription drugs, and firearms. But the search didn’t end there.
“These subjects were then driving to Nevada and selling the narcotics at a much higher price than could be sold for in Stockton,” Jones explained.
Nearly 200 miles away in Reno, investigators found more drugs and guns and arrested 11 more people. They believe many NSGC members were then bringing guns back to sell in Stockton.
The investigation also uncovered the alleged involvement of a San Joaquin County correctional officer 31-year-old Ashley Johnson. According to Stockton PD documents, investigators seized one gun from Johnson’s residence.
According to San Joaquin County Sheriff Steve Moore, Johnson had only been working at San Joaquin County Jail for less than a year. She was fired on the spot during her arrest on Wednesday.
“We were extremely disheartened that anybody from the sheriff’s office, under any circumstances, would be involved in any kind of criminal activity,” Sheriff Moore said. “Unfortunately we are dealing with human beings and human beings often do make poor choices.”
Detectives began monitoring her activities when they realized she might be involved in illegal activity. The extent of her involvement in the operation is still under investigation. Johnson faces several charges, including selling narcotics and conspiracy. She was booked at Stanislaus County Jail.
While the takedown is a win for Stockton Police, San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber-Salazar had a clear message for anyone out there still involved in criminal activity.
“Those who cause the greatest harm to our community will surely and swiftly be arrested and prosecuted and incarcerated,” she said.