UPDATE: At least 109 arrested as cops crack down on illegal street racing

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In a fast and furious effort to rid the Santa Clarita Valley of illegal street racing, local sheriff’s deputies and CHP officers arrested at least 109 people at an illegal street racing event in the Valencia Commerce Center in Castaic Thursday night.

A total of 102 arrests were made for participating or simply watching the illegal speed event, California Highway Patrol Captain Edward Krusey told The Signal Friday.

Seven people were arrested for organizing the illegal event or driving in it.

“A couple of times I almost had to close my eyes,” Krusey said, referring to those moments in the event when spinning cars came close to hitting spectators.

Of the seven arrested for active participation, they were physically booked at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station and their vehicles towed, Krusey said.

Captain Robert Lewis of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station told The Signal the “operation” was a collaborative one.

“We were working together to address this problem,” he said Friday, noting the operation was the latest in a series of targeted moves he’s come to characterize as “suppression patrols.”

Two of the young men – one from Canyon Country, the other from Castaic – arrested by Officers of the California Highway Patrol late Thursday night around 11 p.m., were arrested on a single misdemeanor charge of taking part in an illegal speed race.

Arrested were Jason Leyva, 19, of Canyon Country, and Redwin Padua, 21, of Castaic.

Each suspect had bail set at $10,000.

At least 102 spectators were cited for watching the event and were released at the scene.

“It isn’t just the reckless driving or racing that is illegal as the onlookers discovered,” he said.  “A momentary loss of control which can happen all too easily can have devastating consequences for both the divers and spectators.”

The joint forces effort – dubbed the Illegal Street Racing Operation – was carried out by local sheriff’s deputies and CHP officers as part of a countywide crackdown on illegal street racing, Krusey said.

Local law enforcement, together with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, set out to shut down what has become known on the streets as a “Sideshow.”

Joint forces participants, acting on intelligence gathered, carried out their operation at the industrial park in Castaic, a location bustling with people during the day but left to become a “ghost town” at night.

The long wide asphalt streets attract street racers to perform “burnouts,” “donuts” and “drifting,” CHP officers said, all of which are illegal.

“Through intelligence, we believed it would occur that night,” Krusey said about Thursday night’s operation.  “It has definitely been a problem.”

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