CA: Sacramento man among those arrested in operation to stop violent crime in Vallejo

Sacramento Bee News –

Agents searched the home of Mitchell and Garnes and discovered a meth tablet manufacturing operation that included a pill press, pill binding materials and thousands of meth tablets “shaped like superheroes,” along with an assault rifle and a handgun in a dishwasher

A Sacramento man is among several people accused of large-scale drug trafficking who were arrested as part of a joint law enforcement operation geared toward quelling an uptick in violent crimes in Vallejo.

U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott on Thursday announced the results of “Operation PEACE,” a response by federal and local agencies to an increase in shootings and other violent crimes in Vallejo. In late August, the city had already had 19 homicides this year, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento.

The first phase of the operation during five days in late September ended with 25 arrests. Federal prosecutors said U.S. Marshals Service and the Vallejo Police Department arrested fugitives who were violent offenders with state and federal arrest warrants, including fugitives wanted on suspicion of committing lewd and lascivious acts on a child and resisting arrest.

The results of the second phase, announced Thursday, were part of an effort spearheaded by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to “target violent offenders engaged in large-scale drug trafficking” in Vallejo, as well as suppliers outside the city, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“Operation PEACE has successfully taken armed, violent criminals off the streets of Vallejo,” Scott said in the news release. “These successes will continue as the partnership between federal and local law enforcement agencies continue and bring about a safer Vallejo.”

DEA SACRAMENTO INVESTIGATIONS

Prosecutors said investigators used confidential informants and undercover agents to make more than 12 drug purchases, which led to multiple search warrants and arrests. Among those arrested was Marques Julius Johnson, 39, of Sacramento.

He was arrested Dec. 9 along with Calvin James Smith, 32, during an undercover drug purchase in Vallejo, prosecutors said. They were unsure of Smith’s city of residence but believed he’s also from Sacramento.

Johnson and Smith had 6,000 methamphetamine tablets and a loaded pistol, and Smith also was carrying an AR-15 rifle that was loaded with a high-capacity ammunition magazine, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Johnson and Smith have been charged with distributing and possessing with intent to distribute meth. Johnson also was charged with conspiracy to distribute meth.

Their arrests were the result of investigations by the DEA Sacramento Office with help from local and other federal agencies.

Also arrested in the DEA Sacramento investigations were Michael Williams, 58; Clarence Courtney, 55; Darren Tramaine Tony Mitchell, 30; and Ronald John Garnes, 42. All four suspects are Vallejo residents.

Prosecutors said Williams sold an undercover agent more than 2 pounds of crystal meth and more than 1 ounce of heroin from September through November. Courtney supplied the meth and heroin for Williams to sell, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

On Dec. 3, agents arrested Williams and Courtney, who had more than 3 pounds of meth, prosecutors said. Agents later found “a ghost-gun” assault rifle, a handgun and more than 100 rounds of ammunition in Courtney’s home, according to the news release.

Prosecutors have charged Williams and Courtney with conspiracy to distribute heroin and meth, distributing heroin, distributing meth, and possessing with the intent to distribute meth. Courtney also is accused of being a felon in possession of a gun.

THOUSANDS OF METH TABLETS ‘SHAPED LIKE SUPERHEROES’

Agents searched the home of Mitchell and Garnes and discovered a meth tablet manufacturing operation that included a pill press, pill binding materials and thousands of meth tablets “shaped like superheroes,” along with an assault rifle and a handgun in a dishwasher, according to the news release.

Prosecutors charged Mitchell and Garnes with conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and possess with the intent to distribute meth. Mitchell also is accused of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Also arrested in the second phase of this enforcement operation were Brian Earl Turner, 32, and Lamonte Eshawn Percoats, 33, both of Vallejo. Their arrests were the result of investigations led by the Solano County Violent Crime Task Force with help from local state and federal agencies.

Turner has been charged with being a felon in possession of a gun after he was found with a Glock 27 .40 caliber handgun, prosecutors said. Percoats has been charged with possessing with intent to distribute heroin, being a felon in possession of a gun and possessing a gun in a drug trafficking crime. Prosecutors said Percoats had a Taurus 9 mm gun and at least 100 grams of heroin.

“We must all remember that behind the statistics are real people experiencing real trauma,” Vallejo Police Chief Shawny Williams said in the news release. “Our community needs and deserves our compassion, service and commitment during times of difficulty, and we are hopeful that Operation PEACE will help us achieve that goal.”

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