Arrested include two mafia members “wanted for a number of murders” in India
The California Police have arrested 17 Sikh men in connection with a series of shootings in Gurdwaras in Stockton, Sacramento County, and other locations after a months-long, multiagency investigation of rival criminal syndicates operating throughout Northern California.
The police also seized 41 firearms during several raids carried out in more than 20 places, California attorney general Rob Bonta, Yuba City Police chief Brian Baker, and Sutter County District attorney Jennifer Dupré, announced Sunday.
These groups are alleged to be responsible for numerous violent crimes and shootings, including five attempted murders, in Sutter, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Solano, Yolo, and Merced counties, they said.
Read: 2 people shot at Sikh gurdwara in Sacramento (March 27, 2023)
Members of these groups were allegedly involved in a mass shooting at a Stockton Sikh temple on Aug 27, 2022, and a shooting at a Sacramento Sikh temple on March 23, 2023. During the investigation, law enforcement was able to prevent two additional shootings from occurring, officials said.
Reports indicate that at least four of the arrested men are Indian passport holders and the rest are born and brought up as American national Sikhs.
After the Sacramento Gurdwara shooting that left two men in critical condition, authorities launched an investigation named Operation Broken Sword, targeting two opposing factions of a criminal syndicate that engaged in various criminal activities, including the sale of firearms and violent crimes.
According to Dupré, two mafia members — Pavittar Singh and Husandeep Singh — who are “wanted for a number of murders” in India were among those arrested.
“Today, California is safer thanks to collaboration, determination, and swift action by DOJ agents and our law enforcement partners in Sutter County,” said California Attorney General Rob Bonta.
“No family should ever have to worry about drive-by shootings or other forms of gun violence in the neighborhoods where their children live and play. As a result of this joint law enforcement effort, we’re taking guns off the street and putting suspected gang members and their associates behind bars,” he said.
“An investigation of this magnitude requires a tremendous amount of time and effort, and especially a lot of personnel,” added Dupré.
Seven people were arrested with four handguns and two assault weapons with high-capacity ammunition magazines found in vehicles near the parade route. Suspects’ intent was to take up position along the parade route and shoot at rivals.
In connection with the guns found in the vehicles near the parade in Sacramento County, eight men were arrested on suspicion of criminal conspiracy to commit attempted murder.
Their names are: Armandeep Singh, Gurvinder Singh, Nitish Kaushal, Harmandeep Singh, Gurminder Singh Kang, Devender Singh, Gursharn Singh, and Grucharan Singh.
Dupre said members of two criminal syndicates responsible for the escalating violence, known as Minta and the AK-47 Group, were initially part of one group before their splintered in rival factions.
The district attorney said the motivation behind the violence is still a “little murky,” but that they basically show up to places and try to shoot each other.
Five men were arrested in connection with the Woodland shooting. They are Sahajpreet Singh, Harkirat Singh, Tirath Ram, Pavittar Singh and Husandeep Singh. Two other men were arrested on their way to Manteca, where investigators believe they were planning to commit a homicide.