Avenal State Prison, Pleasant Valley State Prison target Fresno’s gangs through task force

By Lt. Mike Tuntakit, AA/PIO

Editor’s Note: The following is a first-person account of a special anti-gang task force operation in the Fresno area.

On Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014, The California Department of Corrections (CDCR) Crisis Response Team (CRT.) from Avenal State Prison and Pleasant Valley State Prison assisted in a coordinated effort of the Fresno Police Department’s Elite Multi-Agency Gang Enforcement Consortium (MAGEC).

The CDCR Crisis Response Team joined forces with multiple agencies in Fresno County to help crack down on gang activity.

The CDCR Crisis Response Team joined forces with multiple agencies in Fresno County to help crack down on gang activity.

Also in attendance was Lisa Sondergaard Smittcamp, who will head MAGEC upon being sworn in as Fresno County District Attorney next January.

I was fortunate to be partnered up with the Sergeant in charge of the operations who led this high pace crime sweep through Fresno County.

The action started within 30 seconds from pulling out of the parking lot when a car chase ensued down Jensen to Highway 41 ending in the gang infested area known as the “Dog Pound.”

The “Sarge” handled every incident strategically and methodically; to say I was impressed would be a huge understatement.   The criminals were “overwhelmed by police and had nowhere to go,” one gang member said.

The MAGEC task force comprises Fresno Police Department, and other highly trained members of the CDCR CRT; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Fresno County Sheriff’s Office; CHP and CDCR Parole Department. We were paired up and patrolled the surrounding Fresno County area, Fresno City and Clovis.

The efforts were to interdict and suppress criminal street gang violent crimes with a “zero tolerance” to crime. The CRT members assisted to apprehend, identify gang members and parolees.

The MAGEC task force made 25 felony arrests, five misdemeanor arrests and two drunk-driving arrests.

The MAGEC task force made 25 felony arrests, five misdemeanor arrests and two drunk-driving arrests.

This effort included the search and seizures of illegally possessed weapons, narcotics, and other criminal activity by parolees. The focus of the mission was to safely eradicate criminal activity of identified street gangs whose members include those on parole who threaten, terrorize and commit a multitude of crimes against members of our community’s neighborhoods and businesses within the Fresno County area.

As a result of the MAGEC efforts, several dozen Parole Violators were apprehended and arrested, illegal firearms were seized, along with a large amount of illegal drugs all of which were confiscated and taken off the streets.

I would like to thank the Fresno MAGEC. Team for inviting us to work with them it was amazing to see what an overwhelming police force can do working together.

There were 25 felony arrests made, five misdemeanors, two drunk-driving arrests, one illegal firearm seized and we completed eight probation/parole residential searches.

Special thanks to ASP Warden Carl Wofford and PVSP Warden Scott Frauenheim.

Illegal drugs were confiscated and taken off the streets, thanks to the efforts of the M.A.G.E.C. task force.

Illegal drugs were confiscated and taken off the streets, thanks to the efforts of the MAGEC task force.

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