Federal and local law enforcement officials announced in San Francisco Wednesday they have charged 33 people and arrested 27 of them, primarily in East Palo Alto and Menlo Park, on charges of selling crack cocaine and methamphetamine.
U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said more than 900 FBI agents and East Palo Alto and Menlo Park police officers arrested 27 people and executed more than 30 search warrants in a large-scale takedown on Tuesday.
Haag said the arrests were the result of a two-year investigation that focused on "an associated group of individuals who supplied drugs, which included cocaine and methamphetamine, to multiple gangs in the areas of East Palo Alto and Menlo Park."
The probe was carried out by a federal, state and local coalition called the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force.
East Palo Alto Police Chief Ronald Davis said at a news conference at the Federal Building in San Francisco, "This operation resulted in a significant blow against the scourge of gangs, drugs and violence in our communities. I'm very confident today's operation will impact violence for this year and next year."
Menlo Park Police Chief Bryan Roberts said, "Task forces of this nature are a crucial component for local law enforcement to effectively address violent crime and narcotic trafficking in their communities."
The defendants were charged with various drug trafficking crimes in at least 15 different grand jury indictments and criminal complaints. Most of the charges were filed under seal on Jan. 31 and unsealed Feb. 8.
In addition to the 27 arrested Tuesday, six other defendants are fugitives, Haag said. The six men currently at large are pictured in this article.
Two of the fugitives - Derrick Lane and Shawn Curtis McKnight - hail from East Palo Alto.
Haag said money, drugs, firearms and cars were seized in the searches.
Haag said the FBI agents who helped to carry out Tuesday's arrests and searches came from FBI SWAT teams in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Portland, Phoenix and Las Vegas. She said federal and state agencies participating in the two-year investigation were the U.S. Attorney's Office, the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the California Highway Patrol.
Local agencies that joined in the investigation included the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office and the East Palo Alto, Fremont, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Newark, Oakland, Palo Alto, Redwood City, Santa Clara and Stockton police departments.
- Bay City News Service