BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) –  One day after a criminal street gang enforcement operation in and around Bakersfield involving at least nine law enforcement agencies acted on 21 search warrants, local, state and federal officials revealed some of the details.

Following an 18-month investigation targeting individuals associated with the loosely organized Sureño street gang, a multijurisdictional task force of local, state and federal agencies carried out Operation Dark Nodes.

The result: 29 arrests. 

Twelve defendants were arrested on federal charges and will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s office. An additional 17 defendants were arrested on state charges and will be prosecuted by the Kern County District Attorney’s office. The federal charges include drug trafficking, conspiracy and firearms offenses.  

Bakersfield Police Chief Greg Terry said efforts to neutralize drug distribution networks is an ongoing battle and this is but one victory.

“We’re not naive to think that this solves the problem,” Terry said at a Friday afternoon news conference at the Bakersfield Police Department headquarters.  “… But days like today, or yesterday’s operation, are really important because it does (make a dent), and we do want to send the message that we are listening, we are watching. We are aware of this epidemic that’s occurring in our community and here at the Bakersfield Police Department we are leveraging every resource that we can to deal with issues that impact our safety and our community.”

Seized in the operation were 13 firearms, 15,000 suspected fentanyl pills, 990 grams of pure fentanyl powder, 10 pounds of methamphetamine, 7 pounds of heroin, 112 pounds of marijuana, $60,000 in U.S. currency and several video games used for illegal gambling.

The arrested individuals included defendants with ties to the Mexican Mafia, as well as the East Side Bakers and a White Supremacist organization. 

If convicted, the defendants face various maximum sentences between 10 years and life in prison and $250,000 to $10 million in fines. 

“Today’s announcement is the result of a coordinated federal, state, and local law enforcement action, and I commend all of our partners for their hard work on this case,” said U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert. “It is precisely this kind of coordinated effort that allows us to most effectively protect our communities and hold gang members accountable for their crimes.”

The federal defendants charged include:

  • William Arthur Poush, 43, of Bakersfield, charged with distribution of a controlled substance and conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.
  • Rosa Fernandez, 43, of Bakersfield, charged with distribution of a controlled substance and conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.
  • Timothy Robert Hingston, 39, of N. Hollywood, charged with distribution of a controlled substance and conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.
  • Spencer Matthew Hopper, 35, of Montrose, charged with distribution of a controlled substance and conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.
  • Dale Vincent Perez, 39, of Bakersfield, charged with possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance.
  • Dale Wesley Hubbard, 49, of Bakersfield, charged with distribution of a controlled substance and conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.
  • Darlene Crystal Viera, 40, of Bakersfield, charged with distribution of a controlled substance and conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.
  • Manuel Yanes, 25, of Bakersfield, charged with distribution of a controlled substance and conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.
  • Jorge Luis Yanes, 28, of Bakersfield, charged with distribution of a controlled substance and conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.
  • Luis Mauricio Castenon, 33, of Bakersfield, charged with distribution of a controlled substance.
  • David Garcia, 35, of Bakersfield, charged with possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance and felon in possession of a firearm.
  • Bryan Steven Reyes, 28, of Bakersfield, charged with distribution of a controlled substance.

Among the individuals charged with state crimes were Pablo Ornelas, Randy Metoyer and Samantha Kelley, according to the D.A.’s office.

Kern County District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer said, “Congratulations to all our law enforcement partners on their efforts in this operation which will certainly disrupt criminal street gangs and their distribution of narcotics.”

“The Kern County Sheriff’s Office is grateful for the cooperation we have with all the law enforcement agencies in the County of Kern,” Sheriff Donny Youngblood said, “These outstanding relationships allow us to work together on the mission of taking illegal drugs off the streets to make it a safer place for all the residents and visitors of our great county.”

“The success of yesterday’s operation represents another important stride in our ongoing effort to combat gang-related crime in the Central Valley and all of Northern California and also highlights the importance of law enforcement partnerships across the spectrum,” HSI San Francisco/NorCal Special Agent in Charge Tatum King said. “I’m proud of our agents’ exhaustive investigative work in bringing these subjects to justice. HSI will continue to work closely with Bakersfield PD and all of our other local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to dismantle these dangerous criminal enterprises and hold their members accountable for their flagrant disregard for the law.”