A day after biker gang arrests, officials to discuss new developments in attacks on Riverside County officers

by Robert J. Lopez (LA Times)
March 18, 2010

A day after a sweep of a local motorcycle gang, top law enforcement officials on Thursday will talk about new developments in a series of attacks on Riverside County officers.

Thirty members of the Vagos motorcycle gang were arrested Wednesday in Riverside County in an ongoing investigation against the group, which authorities described as “an extreme” threat to law enforcement officers.

Officials would not elaborate, but the arrests come after five apparent booby traps were found targeting gang enforcement officers in the Hemet area. No arrests have been made in that case.

Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown will be in Riverside on Thursday to discuss the attacks. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday issued a $50,000 reward related to the cases, which took place over the last few months.

On Wednesday, about 400 officers took part in the multi-agency operation, targeting 73 locations and seizing weapons and illegal drugs, authorities said.

“They represent an extreme threat to law enforcement,” Riverside County Dist. Atty. Rod Pacheco said in an interview. “The goal is to eliminate this threat.”

Citing the ongoing probe, Pacheco declined to say whether any members of the gang had planned to target law enforcement personnel.

In Lake Elsinore, authorities found a methamphetamine lab at the home of one of the Vagos members.

The Vagos gang has at least 600 members in the Western U.S., half of them in California, authorities said. About 100 members are in Riverside County.

Pacheco said the group, which he described as the largest motorcycle gang in California, should expect continued law-enforcement actions.

“This is just the beginning,” he said.

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