SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A 20-month multi-agency investigation into gang-related drug dealing in the South Bay and East County culminated Thursday in the arrests of 17 people, authorities reported.
Nearly 100 officers from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies fanned out this morning to round up the suspects, according to sheriff's officials.
The effort, dubbed Operation South Bay Connection, focused on low- and mid-level methamphetamine distributors with ties to seven street gangs that primarily carry out their criminal activities in the southern reaches of the San Diego area.
The East County Regional Gang Task Force headed the probe, which began in January 2014.
The suspects -- some of whom already were in custody at the time of their arrests in the case -- were identified as Jacelia Cluck, 27; Ricardo Crosthwaite, 36; Alberto Flores, 31; Angel Franco, 24; Julie Franco, 53; Johnny Gomez, 42; Steven Guevara, 35; Sean Harvey, 30; Jaimie Haseleu, 39; Melissa Kilby, 31; Keith Marcus, 29; Julian Marquez, 32; Christina Martinez, 31; Ally
Mistone, 29; Katrina Munoz, 30; Claudia Reyes, 33; and Niko Sanchez, 21.
They were expected to be arraigned Friday afternoon on charges of possessing, selling and transporting methamphetamine and conspiracy to distribute narcotics.
The task force consists of personnel with the El Cajon and La Mesa police departments; county District Attorney's Office, Probation Department and Sheriff's Department; California Highway Patrol; and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, Internal Revenue Service and Marshals Service.