CONTRA COSTA COUNTY (KRON) — More than a dozen gang members in Contra Costa County were convicted on felony charges and sentenced to jail or prison time as part of an FBI and police investigation that began in 2016 after several shootings, some on an East Bay freeway.
Fifteen gang members in Contra Costa County were arrested in August 2016 as part of “Operation Omega Red,” according to the District Attorney’s Office.
The individuals are part of the Norteno gang and were convicted on felony charges and sentenced to a combined total of 165 years behind bars.
The arrests originated from 11 shootings between the Norteno and Sureno gangs between July 2015 and June 2016 in Contra Costa County.
The district attorney said seven of those shootings resulted in fatalities, with four taking place on Highway 4.
Two other fatal shootings took place in Concord and another in Bay Point.
Police say the shootings were related to a “gang war” between the two gangs.
The district attorney said since the arrests in 2016, there has been one murder on Highway 4, unrelated to gangs, and one other gang related murder in Concord.
“This drastic reduction from seven gang driven homicides in under one year to only one in the last three years is a testament to the effectiveness of this kind of targeted law enforcement action and the power of police partnerships across the county,” Concord’s police chief said in a statement.
Each individual will serve time in a county jail or prison as part of their pleas, according to the DA’s office.
Officials say the gang members that presented the most danger to society, Thomas Leon and Armando Amaro, were sentenced to 35 years each behind bars.
The following 15 gang members were arrested and convicted as part of the law enforcement operation.
- Armando Amaro — Charges: Attempted Murder with Gang Enhancements
- Thomas Leon — Charges: Attempted Murder with Gang Enhancements
- Jesse Loyola — Charges: Attempted Murder with Gang Enhancements
- Jonathan Arroyo — Charges: Assault with a Deadly Weapon with Gang enhancements
- Jose Castaneda — Charges: Conspiracy to commit a shooting with gang enhancements
- Adrian Ponce — Charges: Selling Drugs for the Gang and possessing guns for the gang
- Carlos Guzman — Charges: Conspiracy to commit a shooting with gang enhancements
- Ronald Welch — Charges: Assault with a Deadly Weapon with Gang enhancements
- Jesse Ortega — Charges: Assisted in transporting firearms for the gang
- Sean Dunne — Charges: Conspiracy to retaliate against a witness
- Ernesto Esquibell — Charges: Reckless discharge of firearm
- Cesar Rivera — Charges: Robbery crimes
- Justin Dunne — Charges: Conspiracy to retaliate against a witness
- Jorge Ruiz — Charges: Possession of drugs for sale
- Jordy Garcia — Charges: Conspiracy to shoot at rival gang members
- Ana Lemus — Charges: Conspiracy to shoot rival gang member
- Lupita Ayala — Charges: Assisted Thomas LEON in transporting firearms
- Miguel Guttierez — Charges: Possession of a firearm used in a shooting committed by Jesse Loyola
- Steven Prue — Charges: Assisted Sean Dunne in pimping activities
For more information on the convictions, click here.