Tulare County Sheriff/Visalia Police Dept conduct Gang Bust Arresting 25 Gang Members

A Press Release from the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department

Sheriff Mike Boudreaux speaks during a press conference about Operation Stray Bullet on Jan. 16, 2020 at Sheriff’s Headquarters.

Around 4:30 a.m. on 1/16/20, the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with the DEA, FBI and the Visalia Police Department, ended a five-month investigation into a violent gang in the northern part of Tulare County. “Operation Stray Bullet” targeted violent gang members for the last five-months who are responsible for more than 30 reported and unreported Drive-By shootings. Those gang members consisted of the Norteno Criminal Street Gang and associates, who were involved in crimes in the Visalia, Orosi and Culter areas.

Investigators were able to identify the structure of the gang, which was primarily being run by Edward Moran from Cutler. Moran and his associates were responsible for numerous drug sales, gun sales, shootings and also conspired to commit robberies, home invasions and conspiracy to commit murder.

The TCSO investigation intensified when an eight-year-old girl was shot in Seville last September. She was rushed to the hospital. But we are happy to report that, today, she is fully recovered and doing great. TCSO Deputies delivered Christmas presents to her a few weeks ago and she was all smiles! Through the investigation, Deputies were able to identify Jorge Barajas as the suspect in the shooting of that little girl.

On Thursday morning, nearly 300 law enforcement personnel from agencies throughout Tulare, Kings, Fresno and Kern Counties, along with Federal Agents with the DEA and FBI, served 25 search warrants in Farmersville, Visalia, Tulare, Cutler, Orosi, and Orange Cove, as well as 28 federal and state arrest warrants.

As a result, 25 people, including two teenagers, were arrested, some on federal charges and others on

Operation Stray Bullet on Jan. 16, 2020.

state charges, all of whom are part of the Norteno Criminal Street gang or associates. Among those arrested was Jorge Barajas, the main suspect in the shooting of the 8-year-old girl in Seville.

The violent gang members arrested face charges ranging from drug sales, gun sales and shootings to conspiracy to commit robberies, home invasion and conspiracy to commit murder.

During the five-month investigation, Detectives seized 12 pounds of Meth, 150 pounds of processed marijuana, ½ pound of black tar heroin, 18 firearms, four assault rifles, one grenade, two silencers and two stolen vehicles.

Sheriff Boudreaux would like to thank the DEA, FBI, Homeland Security, ATF, the Visalia Police Department, as well as SWAT Teams from the Bakersfield Police Department, the Porterville Police Department, the Tulare Police Department, the Visalia Police Department, the Kern County Sheriff’s Office, the Kings County Sheriff’s Office and the Central Valley Task Force. This massive operation would not have been possible without help from all of these agencies. Thankfully, no officers were hurt during Thursday’s operation.

Because of the hard work and determination of so many people, this group of violent gang members in the Cutler/Orosi area has been dismantled.

“The people in this community deserve to feel safe when they lay their heads down at night. They shouldn’t live in fear. And without these criminals lurking around every corner, the good people of Cutler/Orosi can breathe a little easier tonight,” Sheriff Boudreaux said. “These criminals are poisoning the minds of your children. During today’s operation, we arrested a 15 and 16 year old child. Those kids should have been sitting in school this morning, wondering who they’re going to ask to winter formal. Instead, they’re sitting in a jail cell. They’re lives have been stolen by street gangs.”

Sheriff Boudreaux continued on to pledge that as many resources as necessary will be used to stop these criminals in their tracks.

“These violent criminals have no regard for human life, and they need to be stopped. And this morning, we did just that,” he said. “But we’re not done. We know there are many more violent gang members out there. And we will continue to hunt them down and put them behind bars, where they deserve to be. As Sheriff, my number one priority is the safety of the people who call Tulare County home. Today, I can proudly say, we are safer than we were yesterday. And with each criminal we track down and take off the streets, we will be safer than we were the day before.”

The following suspects were arrested during today’s operation:

Edward Moran, 27 years old, Cutler

Assault with a deadly weapon, Gang conspiracy, Sales of an assault weapon, Burglary of an occupied residence, Possession of a firearm while being a documented gang member, Possession of a controlled substance for sales, Possession of marijuana for sales, bringing a controlled substance into a jail facility, Gang Enhancement

Lesdy Moran, 28 years old, Cutler

Sales of an assault weapon, Gang conspiracy, Gang enhancement, burglary of an occupied residence, Possession of a firearm while being a documented gang member, Possession of a controlled substance for sales

Humberto Contreras, 26 years old, Cutler

Sales of an assault weapon, Gang conspiracy, Gang enhancement

Armando Gonzalez, 29 years old, Visalia

Possession/Transportation of a narcotics for sales, Gang Conspiracy

Jorge Barajas, 19 years old, Cutler

Possession of a firearm while being a documented gang member, Gang enhancement, possession of a controlled substance for sales, Assault with a deadly weapon, Attempted murder

Cristian Bravo, 19 years old, Cutler

Felon in possession of a firearm while being a documented gang member, Gang conspiracy, Possession of a controlled substance for sales, Gang enhancement

Mark Montemayor, 22 years old, Orosi

Possession of marijuana for sales, maintaining a residence for sales

Gregorio Rodriguez, 33 years old, Farmersville

Possession/Transportation of a narcotics for sales, Gang Conspiracy

Joseph Contreras, 25 years old, Cutler

Felon in Possession of a firearm while being a documented gang member, Gang enhancement

Catalino Mondragon, 20 years old, Orosi

Transportation of marijuana across state lines, Gang Conspiracy, Gang enhancement

Jose Ocampo, 21 years old, Cutler

Assault with a deadly weapon, Gang Enhancement

Felipe Serrano, 29 years old, Dinuba

Possession of an assault weapon, Felon in possession of ammunition, Felon in possession of a firearm, Possession of a silencer, Sales of marijuana

Heriberto Alvarado, 26 years old, Orosi

Bringing a controlled substance into a custodial facility, Gang conspiracy, Gang enhancement

Miguel Reynoso, 25 years old, Cutler

Felon in possession of a firearm while being a documented gang member, Gang conspiracy, Possession of a controlled substance for sales, Gang enhancement

Daniel Herrera, 18 years old, Cutler

Assault with a deadly weapon, Sales of an assault weapon, Possession of a firearm while being a documented gang member, Gang conspiracy, Burglary of an occupied residence, Sales of marijuana, Transportation of a controlled substance for sales, Gang enhancement

Jesus Rodriguez, 23 years old, Visalia

Assault with a deadly weapon, Gang conspiracy, Burglary of an occupied residence, Sales of marijuana, Gang enhancement

George Aquino, 27 years old, Cutler

Sales of an assault weapon, Felon in possession of ammunition, Possession of an assault rifle, Possession of a firearm while being a documented gang member, Gang conspiracy, Gang enhancement

Ismael Contreras, 44 years old, Orosi

Possession of an assault rifle, possession of a controlled substance

Myra Carrillo 32 years old, Orosi

Possession of marijuana for sales

16 year old male, Cutler

Possession of a stolen vehicle, Gang conspiracy, gang enhancement

15 year old male, Cutler

Possession of a stolen vehicle, Gang conspiracy, gang enhancement

Marisa Cervantes, 24 years old, Visalia 

Unrelated warrant

Yadira Oroszco, 35 years old, Dinuba

Unrelated warrant

Wanted Suspect(s)

Jarod Martinez 18 years old, Visalia

Possession of a firearm while being a documented gang member, gang enhancement

Juan Contreras 23 years old, Orosi

Possession of a firearm by a documented gang member

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  1. Great work!!! Our tax dollars at work. Thank you ALL for your diligence and commitment to protect and serve. Well done!

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