Dozens of gang members were arrested in a continuing crackdown stemming from the execution-style massacre of six people, including a 16-year-old mother and her 10-month-old baby, in Northern California in January. A man accused in the slayings faces additional federal charges for shooting at an ATF agent during his arrest.
The arrests came as part of the Tulare County Sheriff’s “Operation Nightmare” after the Jan. 16 killings in Goshen, Calif. Authorities arrested 26 people, served 18 arrest warrants, and searched 97 homes and 23 prison cells during the four-day operation, officials said in a press release.
In the sweep on Friday, authorities uncovered guns, ammunition, methamphetamine and cocaine.
Authorities also discovered assault rifle parts and pieces to make fully automatic pistols they say was part of an illegal gun manufacturing operation in which gang members made and sold untraceable pistols and AR-15 style rifles to other gang members.
The operation on the streets occurred as the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation searched prison cells of suspected Norteño and Nuestra Familia gang members at prisons across the state, officials said.
A federal judge, meanwhile, issued an arrest warrant for Angel Uriarte, 35, of Visalia, charging him with assault on a federal officer involving a weapon, discharging a firearm during a crime of violence, and being a felon in possession of a firearm, U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert said Tuesday.
Uriarte, an ex-con sentenced to seven years in prison for a 2014 assault with a firearm charge, allegedly fired shots at agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives during his arrest on murder charges on Feb. 3, 2023.
Authorities said he fired three rounds at an ATF agent, who returned fire and struck and wounded Uriarte. Officials said that agents found a Bersa .380 semi-automatic pistol near where Uriarte fell.
The second suspect in the massacre, Noah David Beard, 25, was arrested on Feb. 3. The Tulare County District Attorney’s Office charged both suspects with six counts of murder and other crimes.
The shooting happened before dawn on Jan. 16 in Goshen, a community of 3,000 in the San Joaquin Valley.
All but one of the six victims were shot in the head. One was shot while she slept. Another was killed when she woke up to the commotion.
The young mother and her baby were shot in the back of the head. The sheriff said their bodies were found in the street after the mother tried desperately to escape the house with her baby.
The sheriff said the suspects were members of the Norteños, a Northern California gang. Goshen is about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco and is considered Norteño turf, the sheriff said. The sheriff said two members of the victim’s family were well-known, validated members of the rival Sureños.
“This was clearly not a random act of violence,” the sheriff said. “This family was targeted by cold-blooded killers.”
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