Fresno, California - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced a takedown targeting the Dog Pound Gangsters, a Fresno-area criminal organization, following a year-long joint investigation by the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Investigation Special Operations Unit (SOU) and the Fresno Police Department.
The investigation, Operation Dog Track, resulted in the arrests of 28 individuals who have been charged with a range of federal crimes, including conspiracy to commit murder, human trafficking, and fraud. Those arrested are expected to be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of California.
“Street gangs must be held accountable for terrorizing our communities,” said Attorney General Kamala D. Harris. “I’m thankful for the bravery and diligence of our Special Agents, the Fresno Police Department, and the other local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies working together to dismantle criminal organizations and protect victims of trafficking and fraud throughout the Central Valley.”
"The dismantling of the Dog Pound Gang's leadership will send a shockwave throughout the gang community and significantly reduce gang violence in Fresno for many years," said Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer.
The Special Operations Unit (SOU) is a collaborative investigative effort between the California Department of Justice and the California Highway Patrol (CHP) that provides statewide enforcement for combating violent career criminals, gangs, and organized crime groups, along with intrastate drug traffickers.
“A partnership like the California Department of Justice SOU, working with allied law enforcement agencies, was crucial to this important investigation,” CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said. “I am proud the CHP was able to provide its expertise and thank everyone involved for their dedication and professionalism.”
The joint investigation found that the Fresno Dog Pound Gangsters have transported human trafficking victims across state lines, in violation of the federal Mann Act, primarily victimizing women to generate income that funds other criminal activities.
According to the affidavit, the Fresno Dog Pound Gangsters have also been involved in violent crimes, credit card fraud, and bank fraud. Several violent assaults, murders, and shootings were solved or circumvented as a result of this investigation.
Attorney General Harris released a 2014 report, Gangs Beyond Borders: California and the Fight Against Transnational Organized Crime, which is the first comprehensive report analyzing the current state of transnational criminal organizations in California. The report identified human trafficking as an emerging aspect of these organizations’ criminal activities, and made recommendations to address this issue, including by funding state task forces to investigate and disrupt these organizations.
In 2014, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and California Highway Patrol Commissioner Joe Farrow worked with the Legislature and Governor Brown’s administration to secure $9.4 million for California DOJ Bureau of Investigation’s SOU teams. These unique and essential teams use the latest technology and advanced investigative techniques and work alongside local law enforcement to enhance investigations into violent criminals and organized crime throughout the state.
Since 2012, the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Investigation Special Operations Unit (SOU) has arrested 551 individuals and seized over one million dollars in cash, 20 pounds of heroin, 64 pounds of methamphetamine, 145 pounds of marijuana, 13 pounds of cocaine, and over 400 weapons.