On Nov. 19, California authorities announced the arrest of 50 people in connection to a drug ring reportedly run by the Norteño street gang. The arrests were apparently the culmination of a three-month investigation.
According to state prosecutors, in August, law enforcement officers began investigating Norteño gang members who were allegedly involved in a variety of criminal activities in the Stockton area. These activities included conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery and the possession and sale of firearms. During the course of the investigation, officers seized approximately 25 pounds of illicit drugs, including cocaine, fentanyl, heroin, and methamphetamine. They also confiscated a large quantity of illegal weapons, including eight assault rifles. They identified individuals who were allegedly responsible for the shooting of a 10-year-old child.
The investigation was conducted by members of the Special Operations Unit of the California Department of Justice, the California Highway Patrol and the Stockton Police Department Gang Violence Suppression Unit. The case is being prosecuted by the San Joaquin County District Attorney's Office.
If convicted, defendants charged with drug distribution or other drug crimes could face severe consequences, including lengthy prison terms, heavy fines and the forfeiture of certain assets. However, by retaining a criminal defense attorney, defendants might be able to avoid some or all of these penalties. For example, after reviewing the evidence, the attorney may find a way to successfully challenge the prosecution's case and get the charges dropped. Another strategy might involve negotiating a plea deal that allows the defendant to plead guilty to reduced charges. As a result, he or she may be eligible to receive a lighter sentence.