Members of two Sheriff’s Station’s specialty teams carried out a sweep of suspected gang members, arresting five of at least 12 people detained this week.
The sweep was carried out Wednesday, when members of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff Station’s Special Assignment and Crime Impact teams began “patrolling in SCV areas where possible gang activity was reported,” Shirley Miller, spokeswoman for the SCV Sheriff’s Station told The Signal.
“On Thursday afternoon around 3:15, our deputies from the SAT and CIT tams were patrolling the area of 18500 of Soledad canyon road,” Deputy Chris Craft who oversees the stations Zone 4 area in Saugus and who works on the Crime Prevention Unit, told The Signal Friday.
“They happened to come by a house and as they approached a place where there was known gang activity, two males were seen running from the location.
“Subsequently, there were 12 individuals detained at the location and five arrests were made.
“We detained 12 people – and they were all associates or people who are associated with gangs that are from the SCV.”
Cracking down on gangs is one “proactive” operation undertaken by the sheriff’s station.
“We are extremely pro-active out here,” Craft said. “We are constantly conducting probation searches and other operations to try and lower crime and make residents feel safer.”
The gang sweep was carried out the day after The Signal published a lengthy review of the April 2017 shooting of alleged Brown Familia member Steven Ryan Valenzuela-Hughes.
“The teams, aided by J-Team deputies, went to a mobile home park located on the 18500 block of Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country and detained 12 individuals,” Miller said.
About half the people detained Wednesday were identified as also belonging to the Brown Familia gang, Miller said.
Deputies arrested, transported and booked five adults—two females and three males on multiple charges including narcotics, no-bail warrants and a $100,000 warrant for assault.
The joint-team of SAT and CIT members carried out a “due diligence” warrant for the arrest of a woman on suspicion of battery, Miller said.
Two of the five people arrested were found to have drugs in their possession and now face additional drug charges, she said.
Brown Familia has garnered closer scrutiny by anti-gang units of the SCV Sheriff’s Station these past couple of years as probes into two shooting deaths of gang members continue.
On Jan. 14, 2016, between 7:30-8 p.m., 39-year-old Miguel A. Hernandez was driving his car on Shangri-La Drive when a Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputy pulled him over as he was turning onto Nathan Hill Drive.
Lt. Eddie Hernandez said the deputy pulled the suspect’s car over and the driver immediately stepped out and started yelling profanities at the deputy while appearing to challenge him to a fight.
The deputy repeatedly ordered the man to put his hands in the air but he ignored all commands, Hernandez said, then turned his body and appeared to reach for a weapon behind his back before the deputy opened fire.
Detectives also recovered a knife at the scene, described as a “black folding knife with a rubber combat grip and a 3-inch blade,” Hernandez said.
A year after the traffic stop, police investigators announced the shooting of Hernandez by a local sheriff’s deputy had been justified.
The man’s parents filed a lawsuit against the Sheriff’s Department claiming there was “no reasonable suspicion or probable cause for the traffic stop.”
John Burton, the lawyer representing the Hernandez family, said: “He was pulled over, got out of his car and the deputy shot him with one shot.”
“They say he was armed but there is no evidence of that,” Burton said.
The account of the shooting as spelled out in the lawsuit, differs markedly from the version reported by Sheriff’s Department investigators in January 2017.
Miguel Hernandez was identified as a Brown Familia gang member by officials, who suspected the car he was driving was used in an earlier drive-by shooting, Lt. Eddie Hernandez of the LASD’S Homicide Bureau told The Signal at the time.
A settlement agreement between the Hernandez family and Los Angeles County is currently in the works, Burton told The Signal Friday.
On Apr. 3, 2017, 27-year-old Steven Ryan Valenzuela-Hughes was shot and killed a block from his home, on Bottletree Lane, near the intersection of Valle Del Oro and Dockweiler Drive.
Valenzuela-Hughes had been shot in the back, according to a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner.
While homicide detectives search for the killer and still search for a motive in the shooting, the one aspect of the homicide which they shared immediately with reporters was that the victim was a Brown Familia gang member.
The homicide investigation continues.
On Twitter @jamesarthurholt