BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — “Bakersfield is a safer city than it was two days ago.”
That’s what Chief Greg Terry of the Bakersfield Police Department said about Operation Dark Node, the official name of the multiagency gang and drug operation that took place across the city Thursday morning.
Operation Dark Node has been years in the making, starting back in July of 2020, and according to Terry, the raids were an overall success.
Officials say all of the people arrested during the Bakersfield raids had ties to Sureños. 21 locations, including illegal casinos, were warranted for searches and agents made 29 arrests. 12 of those arrests were for federal drug, parole, and firearms charges.
DHS Special Agent Tatum King said the raids are part of a larger, ongoing effort.
“These arrests and seizures represent another important stride in our ongoing effort to combat gang related crime in the Central Valley and all of northern California,” said King. “We’ll continue to work with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to disrupt, dismantle, and eradicate transnational criminal organizations like Sureños that have no regard for human life.”
17 of those arrested in the Thursday morning raids were arrested on state charges and will be prosecuted by the Kern County District Attorney’s Office. Kern County D.A. Cynthia Zimmer would oversee those actions.
“We have problems with criminals, street gangs, and they believe they have success because of the violence they exact on others, for the use of illegal firearms, and the peddling of their poison to people who become horrific addicts,” said Zimmer.
Bakersfield was chosen as the starting point for Operation Dark Node because of its strong network of criminal activity. Over the operation’s two year span, 55 guns, 30 pounds of crystal meth, and 7 pounds of heroin were seized by law enforcement, who cite the operation as an example of proactive policing.
Chief Terry says he hopes criminals will take notice of the scale of this operation.
“We’re not naïve to think this problem is now gone away. It has not, and there unfortunately will be others that step up and fill this gap, and that’s part of my message,” said Terry. “They should notice what occurred yesterday and the work that has been done over the last several years. It will continue.”
Terry added that Bakersfield law enforcement agencies will collaborate for operations like this in the future.