Northern California gang accused in two mistaken ID murders

Thirty-four suspected gang members were arrested and 64 weapons, including AR-style rifles, ammunition, bulletproof vests, drugs and cash, were seized in a campaign against a gang responsible for two mistaken identity murders, threats against police and an increase of crime in the small agricultural areas of central California, authorities said. Earlier this week, some 700 federal, state and local law enforcement officers served 55 arrest warrants in “Operation Broken Links” against Varrio Colonia Parlier Norteños in Fresno and Tulare counties. Northern California gang accused in two mistaken ID murders 34 arrested in crackdown.

Authorities said they have arrested a murder suspect in the mistaken identity slaying of Silvano Mendoza, a 52-year-old farmworker, killed on a day he normally did not work on June 13, 2021. He was in a car, stopping for a home in Parlier when he was shot. The Fresno County District Attorney’s Office filed first-degree special circumstance murder charges against Francisco Munoz Jr., 26, who was arrested in the operation.

Mendoza’s daughter, Almira Mendoza, said she moved from Parlier to feel more secure. “Nothing in this world is going to bring my dad back, nothing at all … but I feel like he’s not getting 100 percent justice as he should,” Mendoza told Central California ABC affiliate KFSN-TV.


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Northern California gang

Another homicide victim was Ricardo Chavana, Jr., 16, a high school student with no gang ties. He was ambushed while he was sitting on his bed in his bedroom and shot through the rear window of the house in what Fresno County Sheriff John Zanoni called “a very violent and reckless act.” sense”. “They killed my son, but they also killed me,” his mother, María Chavana, told the news station.

The gang is accused of threatening local police, including a 2022 incident involving an arson attack on a Parlier Police Department vehicle. The bombing capped a 100-day sting operation targeting Northern gang members and began in February in response to a recent surge in violence in Parlier, south of Fresno.

Detectives believe some arrested suspects are responsible for other unsolved murders in Parlier. They are working with prosecutors to finalize the investigations and said they are confident charges will be filed against the suspects in the coming weeks.


The arrests were expected to immediately reduce the rate of violent crime in Fresno County, authorities said. Felony charges include murder, drug trafficking, weapons possession, conspiracy, racketeering, vehicle theft, robbery, and gang enhancement.

Prosecutions will take place at both the state and federal levels. Thirteen defendants were federally charged in a complaint alleging conspiracy and attempts to assassinate rival gang members to further the Nuestra Familia and Norteño organized crime enterprises.

They also face accusations that law enforcement intervention thwarted their plan to attack rival gang members. An individual faces one count of attempted bribery of a federal official when he confronts police. Authorities said some defendants could face life in prison if convicted.


The significant charges include 12 people arrested for auto theft, three for burglary and five for conspiracy to commit murder and other felonies. Three others were arrested for homicide and three more people were arrested for robbery and extortion. “Our communities are safer,” the sheriff said. “People in those communities don’t have to keep looking over their shoulders and they don’t have to put up with this level of violence that they’ve had to put up with for the past several months.”

Fresno County Assistant District Attorney Robert Veneman-Hughes said violent street gangs view economically impacted communities in the area as prey. “They sell drugs. They extort and rob residents. They recruit children for violence and kill innocent people,” he said.

Prosecutors from the prosecutor’s office are reviewing the others’ charges and said they would have a list of charges for the first wave of arrests Tuesday afternoon, with arraignment Wednesday. They say they will charge 16 people with non-homicide crimes, including burglary, robbery, carjacking, witness intimidation, burglary, illegal possession of firearms, drug sales and street gang conspiracy.


“Yesterday, during the demolition, one of the arrested gang members looked at the list on the wall,” the prosecutor said, referring to the suspects. Read More……

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