Riverside Police Department's Operations "Eastbound & Down"
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 19, 2018
Officer Ryan J. Railsback
Public Information Officer
Community Services Bureau
(951) 373-6032 (Media Contact)
RIVERSIDE, CA – For the past six months, the Riverside Police Department and the California Department of Justice conducted a joint investigation in an effort to curb gang violence in the Eastside neighborhood of Riverside. On Thursday, October 18, 2018, Operation “Eastbound & Down” resulted in the arrests of 45 suspected gang members and/or associates, 63 firearms, along with illegal narcotics and evidence indicia of gang membership. 13 of those firearms were assault weapons.
This investigation began following a spike in gang-related crimes in the Eastside neighborhood of Riverside, including murder, attempted murder, drive-by shootings, and assaults. These increases resulted from the release from custody of gang members and associates who began fighting to regain control and power. As a result of the operation, gang members and their associates will be charged with various crimes to include attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, robbery, illegal possession and trafficking of firearms and narcotics, identity theft, and conspiracy to commit criminal activity.
The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office worked alongside investigators and will be prosecuting these cases. So far, cases have been filed on 22 adults and 3 minors, some who have committed multiple crimes. “This operation and the tremendous impact it will now have on this violent criminal street gang is another example of what can be achieved when law enforcement agencies on the local, state, and federal level work together,” said Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin. “The criminal street gang targeted in this operation has victimized our community for far too long. Fighting gang violence has been and will continue to be a priority for my office.”
Thursday’s takedown was not possible without the assistance of the Riverside Police Department’s METRO (SWAT) Team, West Post-Release Accountability Team, California Highway Patrol, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Hemet Gang Impact Team, Hemet Gang Task Force, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, Corona Police Department, El Monte Police Department, Inland Regional Apprehension Team (IRAT), LA IMPACT Task Force, California Department of Corrections, Inland Valley SWAT Team, and the San Bernardino Valley Gang Task Force.
“I am very proud of the amazing work of our gang and narcotics detectives, as well as of the incredible partnership with the California Attorney General and his Department of Justice investigators” said Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz. He continued, saying “The primary message we wish to convey to our residents is that the Riverside Police Department is committed to working tirelessly to ensure that violent crime is addressed and that its victims can find a measure of justice. When violent gangsters are removed from our streets, the entire community is able to peaceably enjoy our City’s freedoms and its charms. Most importantly, children can learn and develop and play without the fear of being victimized in any neighborhood. All of us in the criminal justice system have an absolute obligation to provide that peace and those opportunities to our youngest and most vulnerable citizens.”
Operation “Eastbound and Down” was a joint investigative effort between the California Department of Justice and California Highway Patrol Special Operations Unit, the Riverside Police Department, and the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office. Together, the agencies have been working to reduce and minimize the violence and public threat associated with these highly volatile criminal street gang members.
The Special Operations Unit is a collaborative investigative effort between the California Department of Justice and California Highway Patrol that provides statewide enforcement to combat violent career criminals, gangs, and organized crime groups, along with intrastate drug traffickers.
“No community should be plagued by violence and street crime. This week’s coordinated action targeting criminal street gangs, which will be followed by vigorous prosecution, is an essential component in fulfilling our public safety responsibilities,” said Attorney General Becerra. “The men and women of the California Department of Justice will continue to work hand-in-hand with the Riverside Police Department and the Riverside County District Attorney to take back our neighborhoods for the families of Riverside.”