Seven active Marines, seven former Marines and a Navy sailor are among those indicted in a massive FBI sting operation dubbed “Perfect Storm” — which links them to the theft and sale of guns, drugs and cars in Southern California, reports UT San Diego.
Here’s what you should know.
1. The Sting Snared 64 Suspects
In total, 64 people were indicted in the eight-month undercover operation. Law enforcement made 50 arrests, according to the District Attorney’s official statement. Seven Marines, one sailor, and seven former Marines were among those arrested.
2. The Suspects’ Gang Was Infiltrated by Undercover Agents
They were caught in an eight-month undercover operation carried out in cooperation with the Regional Auto Theft Task Force, Immigration and Costumes Enforcement, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. After the undercover operatives infiltrated the ring, they invited the suspects to an disclosed storefront where hidden cameras caught the suspects selling drugs, weapons, and stolen vehicles.
3. The Operation Began After a Spate of Motor Thefts in the Area
The group was primarily a major auto-theft ring Southern California. The bust yielded the police 92 stolen cars. 13,1888 cars were stolen in San Diego County in 2012 alone, according to the DA’s office.
4. Coke, Meth and Nine Firearms Were Also Recovered
Besides the 92 stolen cars, whose total worth is estimated at $692,603, the sting operation yielded nine firearms, as well as methamphetamine and cocaine. During the operation itself, undercover operatives purchased from the criminal ring “stolen vehicles, firearms, narcotics and stolen military contraband consisting of military-grade 2 tactical bullet proof vests, Kevlar helmets, night vision goggles, thermal monocular, gas masks, more than 10,000 rounds of ammunition and high-capacity magazines.”
5. The Gang Were Also Involved in Insurance Fraud
Insurance fraud is also connected to the ring, with several people claiming their cars was stolen.