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Gang sweep in Riverside, San Bernardino counties nets three arrests, seizures of guns and ammo

The Press-Enterprise Richard K. De Atley

A multi-agency gang task force swept through Riverside and San Bernardino counties Wednesday, making three arrests and seizing guns, ammunition and gang material that, in one picture, included a leather Mongols Motorcycle Club vest.

The search warrants were served throughout the area — Moreno Valley residents said a sheriff’s helicopter was hovering in the pre-dawn hours, and patrol-car sirens could be heard as well.

The action stemmed from an investigation by sheriff’s detectives at the Jurupa Valley Station into a 1 a.m. March 12, 2018 shooting incident at a parking lot at Second Street and Hamner Avenue in Norco. Shots were fired at a car and no victims were found nor injuries reported.

The investigation led to the arrests of the three men, Sheriff’s officials said.

Taken into custody were Francisco Paredes, 36, of Moreno Valley; Michael Varela, 33, of Corona; and Daniel Florez, 28, of Colton. Each was being held on $1 million bail at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside.

Paredes, Florez and Varela were each arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a felony, gang membership, and attempted murder, jail records show. Paredes additionally is under investigation for shooting at an inhabited building.

The sheriff’s department described the three men as “active participants of a criminal street gang,” but declined to name the gang.

Agencies involved in the sweep included Regional Gang Task Force Teams, San Bernardino and Riverside county sheriff’s specialized teams, agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and enforcement teams from the Moreno Valley and Murrieta stations.

The Gang Task Force is made up of seven teams throughout the county, and is a collaboration of 25 law enforcement agencies.

Anyone with additional information regarding the investigation is asked to call Investigator Martinez of the Jurupa Valley Station at (951) 955-2658 or Deputy Gonzalez from the Region 4 Regional Gang Task Force at (951) 461-6344.

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