Marijuana seized, arrests made in East Bay Mexican drug cartel raids

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Alameda County Narcotics Task Force made numerous arrests, seized hundreds of pounds of marijuana in a series of raids in the East Bay on Wednesday. The sheriff’s office says the raids are linked to a notorious Mexican drug cartel operating in the Bay Area.

"It's no secret that the East Bay and Alameda County are one of the most violent counties in the state of California," says Lt. Derrick Hesselein Commander of the Alameda County Narcotics Task Force. 

The task force confiscated three loaded firearms and thousands of dollars of marijuana plants, after serving 10 search warrants throughout the city of Oakland. 

"They were primarily marijuana grows associated to a Mexican drug trade organization," says Hesselein. “This is not a victimless crime. They prey on these communities. There are a lot of good people who live on every one of these blocks and every one of them [is] a potential victim.”

Investigators say it’s upsetting when drug trafficking is referred to as a victimless crime.  Authorities say often times what happens is people realize those homes are full of drugs.  That can lead to other crimes where innocent people can become victims. 

"A home invasion robbery...people are going to get hurt and possibly killed. What about the innocent neighbors that live right next door or across the street and a stray bullet goes through their window or their wall and kills one of them?," says Hesselein. 

The task force arrested at least 15 people who they say have ties to the Sinaloa Mexican Cartel.

Officers had their weapons at the ready and used an armored vehicle for protection. Investigators say the suspects they're up against are armed with assault weapons. 

"We had a subject flee from one of the houses that we executed a warrant on in the 300 block of 105th Avenue. He was armed with a loaded AR-15 assault weapon," says Hesselein. 

Authorities say technology is also playing a major role in their battle against criminals. The task force is using drones to capture criminals in action. 

"We served a search warrant where we had multiple in custody. A subject ran into the backyard they saw him on video throw a loaded firearm on to the roof, jump a fence throw a second firearm throw drugs, strip off his clothing and then walk down the street," says Hesselein.  

Officers say children are also innocent victims. At least two were placed into a child protective agency, after their family members were arrested.  Officers say they don't like separating the children from their family, but they have no other choice.