Gang-related activity spurs task force

Donna Tam/The Times-Standard

 

 

Increased gang-related assaults and graffiti prompted the gang sweep that resulted in the arrest of eight alleged gang members and the confiscation of gang-related paraphernalia and weapons Wednesday night, according to the Eureka Police Department.

Capt. Murl Harpham said the Humboldt County Gang Task Force will often perform sweeps if the amount of gang-on-gang assaults increases, or if there is more graffiti — a sign that gangs are being territorial.

”That’s always a sign that things are picking up,” Harpham said, adding that the areas with the most concentrated gang activity is the east side of town and the south end of town.

The gang sweep targeted about 15 suspected gang members, known associates of gang members, and their homes in Eureka.

During the sweep, officers conducted probation and parole searches at approximately 20 residences located in the Eureka, Arcata, Pine Hill and Myrtletown areas.

Officers seized numerous items of evidence including gang-related paraphernalia, methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia and several weapons, including throwing knives, a bat, a machete and ammunition.

While there were no “major players” arrested, Harpham said, arrests of any single gang member can help to quiet gang activity.

”The word goes out, and they tend to tone things down,” he said, adding that sweeps on weekends usually result in more arrests.

Harpham said the task force does not want to release any of the four or five targeted gang names, or any of their identifying colors.

”We don’t like to give them any publicity,” Harpham said, adding that the task force will often find news clippings on the walls of members’ homes, from articles that mention their gang.

The task force regularly monitors the activities of gangs and identifies members through the exchange of information among law enforcement agencies, through interacting with members, and observing specific tattoos. Harpham said photos of members flashing gang signs are also found at homes.

Twenty-six officers representing multiple agencies including the Eureka Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Humboldt State University Police, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, Ferndale Police Department, Humboldt County Probation Department and State Parole participated in the operation.

 

 

Arrests:

* Yeng Cheng, 24, for an alleged violation of his parole

* Tou Cheng, 32, for the alleged possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia and for alleged violation of his parole

* Jason Marquez, 33, was taken into custody for alleged parole violation

* Matthew Roberts, 21, was arrested for an alleged parole violation

* Jessica Wilson, 26, was arrested for alleged possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia

* Matthew McQuade, 20, and Rebecca Gillespie, 21, were taken into custody on warrants

* Delano Wilson, 40, was arrested on a warrant.

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