LANCASTER – A three-year investigation into illegal firearms and drug activities in the Antelope Valley has netted 18 arrests, authorities reported Tuesday.
The multi-agency probe that began in 2012 was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles Police Department, according to Lancaster Community Relations Deputy Joshua Stamsek.
“More than 50 undercover operations were conducted during the investigation,” Stamsek stated in a news release. “Law enforcement purchased or seized approximately one pound of crack cocaine, approximately one pound of methamphetamine, over 500 Ecstasy pills and 35 firearms.”
“Seven of the 35 seized firearms were found to be weapons defined under the National Firearms Act,” Stamsek continued. “One additional firearm and narcotics were recovered in today’s [Oct. 6] enforcement activity.”
A total of 26 individuals have been indicted in this case on allegations that include possession of an NFA weapon, felon in possession of a firearm, dealing firearms without a license and possession with intent to distribute narcotics, according to Stamsek.
Thirteen of the defendants are facing federal charges and 13 are facing state charges, according to ATF Special Agent Meredith Davis.
Eighteen of the defendants were taken into custody Tuesday morning from the Lancaster, Long Beach and Van Nuys areas, Davis said. Some of the defendants were already in police custody pending other charges, Davis added.
The defendants, whose names were not released, face a range of sentences from five years to life in prison if convicted, officials said.