SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A crackdown on drug smuggling, human trafficking and other cross-border crimes committed by North County gangs resulted in dozens of arrests and the seizure of illegal drugs and other contraband over the weekend, authorities reported Monday.
The multi-agency sweep, dubbed "Operation Tidal Wave," jailed 49 criminal suspects -- five of them documented gang members -- on Saturday and Sunday, according to sheriff's officials.
The effort sought to disrupt the illegal dealings of transnational underworld organizations, such as Mexican drug cartels, that have enlisted the assistance of criminal groups in the United States.
While the focus of the raid was gang-related illegal activities, the scores of officers carrying it out also put a stop to other lawbreaking, such as possession of illegal narcotics, drunken driving, traffic offenses, and violation of parole and probation.
In addition to the arrests, law enforcement personnel made 277 vehicle stops and issued 56 citations. In five separate drug seizures, they confiscated 9.52 grams of marijuana, 28.43 grams of cocaine, 1.96 grams of methamphetamine and three grams of so-called "psychedelic" mushrooms.
The teams also impounded various other crime-related items, including vehicles, ammunition, four firearms and $2,500 in cash.
Funding for local and state law enforcement agencies that took part in the sweep came from a $19.2 million grant award from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Participating in the effort were police from Carlsbad, Escondido, Oceanside and San Diego; the county Sheriff's Department, Probation Department and Children's Services; the San Diego Harbor Police Department; California Highway Patrol; Homeland Security Investigations Integrated North County Regional Gang Task Force; U.S. Border Patrol; U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement; Border Crime Suppression Team; Drug Endangered Children; Fugitive Task Force; High Intensity Drug Traffic Area; Jurisdictions Unified for Drug and Gang Enforcement; and Smuggling Interdiction Group.
In all, more than 250 law enforcement personnel, including sworn officers and professional staff, helped carry out the operation.
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A group of Scripps Ranch residents, some of whom lost homes in the 2003 Cedar Fire, assembled care packages Sunday for survivors of the deadly blazes in Northern California.
Emotions are still raw for many who went through the 2007 fires in San Diego County and lost homes or loved ones.
Firefighters put out a small fire north of the El Capitan Reservoir in Lakeside and sheriff's deputies were securing the scene where a small plane crashed, authorities said Sunday.
A Red Flag Warning for parts of San Diego County went up Sunday, a day after two sizeable brush fires were sparked in the region.
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