■ Kyle Selby / Reporter
Six suspects are still on the radar of Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin Gang Impact Team (GIT) – a “crackdown” team formed nearly seven months ago to thwart illegal activity in the San Jacinto Valley.
“Operation Valley Vigilance” culminated in a massive sweep maneuver in the early morning hours of June 29, which resulted in 24 arrests within a two-hour period. During the seven-month operation, a total of 47 arrests were made.
The six remaining at-large suspects are listed as follows:
Amy Silva, wanted on a federal arrest warrant on suspicion of weapons and drug-related charges.
Jhanna Guzman, James Brady, and Fernando Flores, all wanted on a state arrest warrant on suspicion of selling, leasing or transferring firearms without a license.
Aaron Robinson, wanted on a state arrest warrant on suspicion of selling, leasing, or transferring firearms without a license; being a felon in possession of a firearm; and possessing an illegal short-barreled rifle or shotgun.
Randy Nelson, wanted on a state arrest warrant on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine for sale.
The GIT is made up of nearly 400 officers from the Riverside County District Attorney’s Investigative Bureau, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the FBI. The Hemet and Palm Springs police departments are also involved with GIT.
Four pounds of narcotics and 77 firearms were either purchased undercover or seized during Operation Valley Vigilance.
Photos of five previous suspects now in custody thanks to the seven-month operation were on display during the press conference that followed that Thursday afternoon, where Hemet Police Chief Dave Brown and members of the GIT addressed the media.
Two of those suspects included brothers Manuel Oláez and Moses Oláez, arrested in April for the murder of Daniel Ramirez – a local crime case that many believe sparked the motivations for Hemet’s declaration of a “War on Crime” in the first place. Chief Brown revealed that undercover investigators purchased the 30-caliber rifle that killed Ramirez two weeks following his death in November.
“The seizure of illegal and dangerous weapons is a top priority of the Gang Impact Team, and will remain so,” said Chief Brown. “We may never know the number of violent crimes prevented by the removal of these weapons and these violent criminals from our streets. But we are deeply grateful that these weapons, and the criminals who possess them, are no longer posing a threat.
According to the DA’s Office’s spokesperson John Hall, 12 of the 47 arrests have resulted in conviction at the state level, 21 cases have been filed but not resolved, and six others are pending filing. Eight cases have been filed at the federal level.