Alleged drug trafficking gang members arrested

Greg Welter (Orville Mercury Register) | May 5, 2011

CHICO — Men in Chico and Hamilton City were among those arrested Wednesday in a five-county sweep intended to dismantle an organization allegedly trafficking in drugs and organizing gangs.

More than 200 officers from several law enforcement agencies participated in the sweep, which also targeted suspects in Yuba City, Rocklin and Sacramento.

The investigation began more than three years ago, and intensified in March when non-stop surveillance was conducted on suspected ringleader Mario Martinez Salazar, 56, of Chico.

Between March and early May, authorities identified 15 members of Salazar’s alleged drug trafficking operation, which revolved around distributing and controlling a large amount of narcotics in Butte and Glenn counties.

Salazar was arrested in Chico Wednesday morning and booked into the Butte County Jail in Oroville on suspicion of possession and transportation of drugs for sales in connection with a criminal street gang.

His bail was set at $500,000.

His brother, Jose Luis Salazar, 30, was located in Hamilton City and arrested. In addition to allegedly trafficking in drugs, the younger Salazar was also suspected of working to establish a street gang regiment in the Butte and Glenn county areas.

Another of Salazar’s close relatives, identified as Joseph “Oso” Salazar, with addresses in Marysville and Palermo, was also arrested.

District Attorney Mike Ramsey said warrants were obtained for 20 individuals and 17 locations. By mid-morning Wednesday, authorities had taken 23 people into custody. He said some of the arrests were incidental to the investigation, and included people wanted for multiple immigration violations.

Read more: http://www.orovillemr.com/news/ci_17997536

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