Police in California have arrested 17 people including two wanted members of mafia in India, in connection with a series of shootings in Gurdwaras in Stockton, Sacramento and other locations.
Police also seized weapons such as AK-47, handguns, and at least one machine gun in a series of raids carried out over 20 places, the State Attorney General said Monday (April 17).
Most of the arrested people were members of the local Sikh community. The arrests were made during a large-scale operation with agents executing search warrants at 20 locations in Northern California on Sunday, according to an announcement made by California Attorney General Rob Bonta, Yuba City Police Chief Brian Baker, and Sutter County District Attorney Jennifer Dupré.
Dupré while addressing the media said, two of the people arrested are mafia members who are wanted in a number of murders in India.
The arrested members, said California Attorney General, are part of rival criminal syndicates who are alleged to be responsible for numerous violent crimes and shootings, including five attempted murders, in Sutter, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Solano, Yolo, and Merced counties.
Members of these groups were allegedly involved in a mass shooting at a Stockton Sikh temple on August 27, 2022, and another at a Sacramento Sikh temple on March 23, 2023.
During the investigation, law enforcement was able to prevent two additional shootings from occurring, a press release said.
“Today, California is safer thanks to collaboration, determination, and swift action by DOJ agents and our law enforcement partners in Sutter County,” said California Attorney General Rob Bonta.
“No family should ever have to worry about drive-by shootings or other forms of gun violence in the neighbourhoods where their children live and play. As a result of this joint law enforcement effort, we’re taking guns off the street and putting suspected gang members and their associates behind bars,” he said.
An investigation of this magnitude requires a tremendous amount of time and effort, and especially a lot of personnel, said Sutter County District Attorney General Jennifer Dupré.
(With inputs from agencies)