YOLO COUNTY (CBS13) — Dozens of search warrants were issued during an early morning raid to target gang violence in Northern California.
“This was a massive undertaking, and one in which we hope will have a profound impact,” said U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott at a press conference Wednesday.
It’s called Operation Silent Night, a yearlong effort by the FBI and local agencies to crack down on organized crime.
“There was a period of time in Woodland we were having shootings and stabbings it seemed like every day or every other day, and it began to feel like we were under siege in Woodland, and it was all gang-related,” said Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig.
During the early morning raids, 750 agents and officers were used to serve 69 warrants and make more than 25 arrests.
“Drugs, cash, and 34 firearms were seized,” said Scott.
Gang violence had been blamed for a number of violent crimes in Woodland including the murder of Ronald Antonio.
“He lived in Woodland, he worked at a tire shop, and in August 2016 after coming home from work he was chased down and stabbed to death by two members of this violent gang,” said Reisig.
Antonio was killed outside of his home, a neighborhood filled with families.
“When we noticed that it was him, we just really broke down and started crying because we remember him as a really good guy,” said one neighbor.
“That was one of many violent incidents this gang commits on a regular basis,” Reisig added.
But a major break for investigators this time around was social media.
Authorities said in many cases, the suspects used sites like Facebook and Snapchat to coordinate crimes.
Some of that street crime was even being run by inmates with contraband cellphones.
“I think today, not just Woodland, but the state of California and the other states involved in this operation or better place, a safer place and we’re going to keep doing this,” said Woodland Police Chief Luis Soler.
Among the arrest from Wednesday’s raids include a number of charges from drug trafficking of methamphetamine to illegal weapons charges.
No one was injured during the sweep, and it’s unclear where the suspects will be prosecuted.