A multi-agency law enforcement sweep of Los Angeles County Wednesday resulted in the arrest of 35 probationers and the confiscation of 23 firearms, Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich said at a press conference Thursday.
Antonovich requested the operation to ensure that persons on probation are complying with their conditions of probation.
The early morning sweep was conducted as part of operation DISARM, which stands for Developing Increased Safety through Arms Reduction Management.
Between 6 a.m. and 11 a.m. Wednesday, the Probation Department led a team of 250 law enforcement officers from five federal and state agencies in a sweep of 158 residences, targeting probation violators and known gang-members in Antelope Valley and several other areas within Los Angeles County.
Prior to the operation, the locations and individuals subject to search and arrest were identified by the Probation Department and the Sheriff’s Department’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Bureau. The mission was to arrest individuals known to be in violation of their probation and to ensure that others were fully complying with the terms and conditions of their early release program.
In the Antelope Valley, eight rifles and four handguns were confiscated, Antonovich spokesman Tony Bell said. Thirty-one people were reportedly arrested in the Antelope Valley. An assortment of knives and switchblades were also recovered.
While conducting a search in the 1900 block of East Avenue R-3, Palmdale, two individuals ran from task force members. Nathaniel Hayes, 22, of Monrovia, was arrested for an outstanding probation warrant and Dominic Mervin, 21, of Palmdale, was arrested for an outstanding domestic violence warrant. Neither subject had been part of the original focus of the search at that location.
The DISARM program entails pairing deputy probation officers with local law enforcement personnel to perform unannounced searches of probationers and their homes, and targets the confiscation of guns, drugs, and other contraband.
“Since the inception of the DISARM program in February 2000, there have been over 16,000 arrests, nearly 8,000 weapons confiscated and over $360 million dollars in illegal drugs and drug money seized,” Antonovich said.
In Los Angeles County, there are 50,000 adult probationers and 20,000 juvenile probationers. They are prohibited from possessing firearms and are subject to warrantless searches as a condition of probation.
In November, DISARM officers conducted 1,832 unannounced searches of residences, persons, vehicles, and businesses. They arrested 136 probationers, confiscated 188 weapons, and seized more than over $53 million in illegal drugs.