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Crackdown on San Diego street gangs and Mexican Mafia results in 26 charged and 228 guns seized

By Gangsters Inc. Editors

Twenty-six people, many of them alleged members and associates of criminal street gangs and the Mexican Mafia prison gang, were charged on Thursday with participating in drug- and gun-related conspiracies, including one that alleges a kidnapping and armed robbery that was prevented by law enforcement.

Thursday morning before dawn, a contingent of more than 200 local, state and federal law enforcement officials searched dozens of locations around the county looking for defendants, guns and drugs. They arrested twenty defendants. Six federal defendants are still at large, including Marla Caniglia, Christina Tovar, Farren Alcoser, aka “Sweetpea,” Soledad Mota, aka “Negra,” Tony Kiryakoza, and Candice Apra, aka “Babydoll.”  Anyone with information is asked to contact the FBI at 858-320-1800.

During searches that day and over the course of the yearlong investigation, authorities have seized seven pounds of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of over $150,000. About 228 firearms were seized from a home in Lakeside during the investigation, and law enforcement officials who were listening in on conversations via court-approved electronic surveillance were able to thwart the attempted kidnapping of a gang member known as “Grizzly from Palm City.”

The San Diego Sheriff’s Department’s Special Enforcement Division executed a search warrant at a residence on Wildcat Canyon Road in Lakeside. They found multiple gun safes in various locations within the home, a total of 228 firearms including AR-15 assault rifles and guns with obliterated serial numbers, multiple high capacity magazines including a 50-round drum magazine, several firearm silencer devices, a “Glock switch” device that converts a semi-automatic pistol into an automatic pistol and multiple cases of ammunition.

In June of 2018, agents participating in the investigation learned that defendants Fady Esho, Sergio “Shaggy” Sanchez and Jose “Chapo” Hernandez intended to assault, intimidate, rob at gunpoint and restrain the intended victim on behalf of the Mexican Mafia because they believed he stole  a laptop and other items from a gang associate.

Esho, along with fellow defendants Sergio “Shaggy” Sanchez and Jose “Chapo” Hernandez, set out to do the bidding of the prison gang leaders. However, the San Diego Police Department’s Gang Suppression Team conducted a traffic stop of their Hummer as the three defendants were en route to the “hit.” The trio was arrested and officers seized four firearms and zip ties.

Esho was carrying a loaded Sig Saur .40-caliber handgun in a concealed holster on his waist, along with two filled magazines in separate holsters. He also had multiple zip ties in his rear pants pocket. A search of the Hummer resulted in the seizure of an additional three firearms, all of which were loaded: A Ruger 9mm handgun was located between the front passenger seat and the console; a Smith and Wesson 9mm handgun was located in a black bag in the rear seat; and a Ruger .22-caliber revolver was located under the driver’s floor mat.

In total, the defendants were charged in six complaints with various crimes, including racketeering, methamphetamine trafficking, felon in possession of firearms and other drug and gun offenses. According to the complaints, the gang members come from the following gangs: Otay Rasta Locos, Logan Heights Rep Steps, Encanto, Lomita, Logan Heights 30, Eastside, East County Blood, Lakeside Gangsters, Varrio Chula Vista and Pinoy.

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