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"Operation Zero Tolerance" targets Fresno gang members

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Dozens of parolees are headed back to prison after a first of its kind gang sweep and 80 others are now being monitored a little more closely thanks to GPS technology. State parole agents joined forces with other Central Valley law enforcement agencies Wednesday morning to target gang members on parole. By the end of the day, 61 parolees were headed back to state prison.

Residents of a south Fresno parolee service center were just some of the people targeted during "Operation Zero Tolerance." All of the residents are on parole and many have gang ties. Wednesday, they sat outside of their rooms as agents searched for contraband and clothing that could be associated with gangs. "It's not realistic to think they're going to automatically quit their gang, but when they come here they know that we're not going to tolerate gang tolerance at all," said parole officer Walt Reta.

"Operation Zero Tolerance" is part of a statewide crackdown on paroled gang members. In the past few weeks, 80 GPS ankle bracelets have been strapped onto parolees in the Fresno area. Three of the units are now back up for grabs after the gang sweep.

During the operation, a downtown Fresno parole office was turned into a direct booking site, where offenders were processed before boarding a bus headed to the Wasco State Prison. Later in the day, authorities showed off some of the firearms and gang paraphernalia seized during the sweep. It's considered a first of its kind effort in the state of California. "What you see is a united front. No difference, in uniforms or non-uniforms, moving toward one goal, which is the eradication of gangs, suppressing crime, and victimization in the community and a threshold of tolerance, which is zero," said Robert Ambroselli, Director of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's Adult Parole Operations.

Statewide, 1,000 GPS units are now being used to monitor gang members, all made possible through recent legislation signed by governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Agents say a sex offender was also arrested during Wednesday's sweep and four children were taken into CPS custody because of child endangerment.

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Tags:
crimetracker, gang, fresno, local, amanda perez
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