22 members of Oxnard street gang arrested on drug-trafficking charges
Police officers and FBI agents arrested 22 members of an Oxnard street gang Wednesday on drug-trafficking charges, officials said.
Members of the Colonia Chiques, Ventura County’s largest street gang, were arrested after an eight-month investigation focusing on the gang’s activities. Over the last few weeks, a federal grand jury in Los Angeles returned nine indictments, charging 12 defendants with distributing methamphetamine, heroin and crack cocaine, officials said.
Eight out of 12 defendants named in the federal indictments were arrested Wednesday morning. Two had been arrested previously and two are fugitives.
In addition to the federal defendants, 14 people were arrested Wednesday morning on state charges to be prosecuted by the Ventura County district attorney’s office.
Formed in the 1970s, the gang has more than 1,000 documented members. The arrests were a result of a collaboration among multiple local and federal authorities.
“This investigation had a direct impact on the reduction of violent crime in our community,” said Oxnard Police Chief Jeri Williams. “By targeting a small percentage of offenders that are responsible for a large number of offenses, we have the ability to solve crimes and prevent new ones before they are committed.”
If convicted, most of the defendants named in the grand jury indictments could get from five to 40 years in federal prison, officials said. Two defendants face potential life sentences because of prior convictions.
-- Nate Jackson