Even the walls of the prison are not enough to deter criminals from carrying out their nefarious activities. The complicity of the inmates and multi-state street gang involved in drug trafficking came to light after authorities arrested 31 people recently from California and Oregon after a month-long investigation. Using a contraband mobile, the kingpins of the operation housed in California’s prison Pelican Bay colluded with the dealer on the street to sell drugs like methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin, along with weapons, cash and codeine syrup empty bottles. It was also revealed that social media accounts like Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook were actively used for drug trafficking.
Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig called it “a violent criminal street gang that has plagued much of the region and frankly reached across the nation.” As part of Operation Silent Night, a massive task force comprising 750 law enforcement officers drawn from the local, state and federal levels, swooped down on the suspects in the early hours on Feb.14, 2018. In due course, the agents conducted 30 parole and probation searchers and served 39 federal search warrants in Northern Calif., Ore., Pa., Pittsburgh and Portland.
According to reports, 18 individuals who had been charged earlier were arrested and 11 more suspected of being involved in the drug ring were detained. Most of the suspects belong to the Varrio Bosque Norteno (VBN) gang, a street-styled gang believed to be the driving force behind violent organized crimes in Woodland and surrounding areas. Briefing the media about the crackdown, McGregor Scott, U.S. attorney, Sacramento-based Eastern District of California, hailed Operation Silent Night as a major achievement. He said, “In one fell swoop, we have indicted persons connected to that organization from the street level to the state prison level.”
During the course of the operation, the officials discovered marijuana, 52 empty bottles of codeine, $71,500 cash and 34 weapons. The officials also discovered a butane honey oil lab, which was into manufacturing oil from weed. The processing of oil is incredibly risky and can cause explosions. Those who have been charged in the drug bust include the kingpins, Patrick Botello (31) and Ricardo Villa (39), who are the inmates of the Pelican Bay Prison. They stand accused of trafficking drugs and using a “communication facility” for the explicit purpose of bringing drugs in and out. Furthermore, they have also been indicted for using social media sites to carry out their trade. However, the recent bust is only the tip of the iceberg and as special agent Sean Ragan revealed the investigations were not finished. There is a long road ahead, he said.
America has been in the grip of the drug and the opioid epidemic for long, and countless lives are lost every day. The involvement of gangs has been a major hurdle in finding an effective end to the crisis. They not only sell illicit drugs in a clandestine manner, but also recruit youngsters, who are eager to earn a quick buck through drug trafficking and criminal activities.
If you know someone battling drug addiction, it’s time to get him/her professional help. At the 24/7 Recovery Helpline, we can help you or your loved one find the best residential drug treatment in a safe and secure environment. The representatives can help you learn more about the problem, identify the symptoms and get connected to the best treatment provider. Call our 24 hour drug helpline (855) 441-4405 or chat online with experts to get the much needed drug rehab help in your vicinity.