California officers arrest 49, seize 120 firearms during anti-gang operation

120 firearms were seized during a takedown of Sureño gang members in Merced County, California.

120 firearms were seized during a takedown of Sureño gang members in Merced County, California. (Photo: CBS 47)

Law enforcement officers arrested 49 individuals and seized 120 firearms Wednesday during a takedown of gang members in Merced County, California.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced the operation, which also led to the seizure of $170,261 in cash and $1.7 million worth of cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine.

The operation specifically targeted members of the Sureño street gang, run by the Mexican Mafia prison gang, and involved more than 500 law enforcement officers.

The California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Investigation, Special Operations Unit, Central California team, the Merced Area Gang and Narcotic Enforcement Team, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives all played roles in the investigation that led to the takedown.

Merced County residents should sleep a little easier tonight after today’s arrest of gang members and seizure of firearms and drugs,” said Becerra. “Keeping our communities safe must be our number one priority. Today’s bust is a prime example of law enforcement working together at all levels to put criminals behind bars.”

At least eight homicides and violent assaults have been solved as part of the investigation and 16 planned violent crimes were prevented.

“Today was a tremendous day for public safety in Merced County,” said Merced County DA Larry D. Morse II. “Some of the most violent criminals in our community have been taken off our streets along with many of the weapons they use to commit murder and mayhem.”