SPRING VALLEY, Calif. — A federal SWAT team stormed an apartment near Bancroft County Park Tuesday and arrested a narcotics suspect named in an indictment targeting drug gangs in the San Diego area.
FBI special weapons and tactics personnel took 30-year-old Terrence Mack Carter into custody in the 9000 block of Kenwood Drive in Spring Valley about 3 p.m., FBI Special Agent Darrell Foxworth said.
U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy announced on Thursday that 45 people had arrested in the case and that law enforcement was still searching for nine other suspects, Carter among them.
The defendants allegedly took part in three conspiracies that overlapped, leading to racketeering charges under the RICO Act.
The investigation that led to the crackdown began last spring, when the El Cajon Police Department began a drug probe and found links to various other crimes throughout the region. Eventually, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, FBI and San Diego Police Department got involved.
One case linked to the defendants involves the murder of a member of the gang, 20-year-old Paris Hill, who had talked to police about a homicide, Duffy told reporters. Hill was found mortally wounded in the Webster neighborhood of central San Diego early last month.
Other crimes outlined in the charges include:
— a random Latino gang member being shot dead, allegedly revenge for an October 2012 carjacking of someone aligned with the West Coast Crips;
— a member of the gang being fatally shot in front of a nightclub, allegedly because of his cooperation with law enforcement;
— a woman who was a gang associate being killed after criticizing members for the nightclub murder; and
— a pregnant woman who was a member of the gang being shot and wounded for criticizing the two previous homicides.
During the sweep, authorities found handguns, sawed-off shotguns, rifles and ammunition. Serial numbers and other identifying information on the firearms had been removed, Duffy said.
The 500-plus officers who took part in the raids also discovered various types of drugs and hundreds of thousands of dollars of counterfeit bills.
Besides the racketeering charges, the defendants face counts of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, carrying a firearm in relation to a drug-trafficking crime and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. Several face life in prison if convicted.