8 suspects in custody after police crackdown

'Operation Safe Coachella' leads to arrests, confiscated guns

COACHELLA, Calif. - The Riverside County Sheriff's Department and Coachella police have arrested eight people after serving search warrants at homes of suspected gang members on Wednesday morning.

They said seven adults and one juvenile were taken into custody.

Police also confiscated four handguns and one rifle during the sweep. Authorities began searching homes around 7 a.m.

"The search warrants were served on the residences of suspected gang members," Riverside County Sheriff's Department Public Information Officer, Armando Munoz said. "These search warrants stemmed from police investigations into several separate shooting and gun related crimes that have occurred in the city of Coachella throughout the last several months."

'Operation Safe Coachella' is periodic enforcement police enact to protect residents from gang members.

Residents on Calle Avila, where one arrest was made, say that thefts and gun fire in their area have increased recently.

"About a month ago it happened. They were shooting something big because it was a very loud blast," Connie Rios said. "It's happening a lot."

Another life-long Coachella resident tells us gang activity along Avenue 52 is up.

"They're fighting over a little sign that says 52," Sally Salinas said. "What is that? That's crazy."

Rios said she is afraid to go outside at night.

"Yes, very much," Rios said. "I am constantly making sure the doors are locked."

Suspects were arrested for crimes of assault with a deadly weapon, possession of stolen property, narcotics, and burglary. 

Residents we spoke with were pleased to see police action taken in their area. 

"I like it," Salinas said. "I feel better. I feel more comfortable seeing them, their presence here."

The following individuals were arrested:

Photos: 7 arrested in Coachella after search warrants served

    Ruben Bravo, 21 years old, Coachella - Parole at Large Warrant

    Bobby Delgado, 28 years old, Coachella - Possession of an Assault Rifle, Possession of Stolen Property, and Possession of a High Capacity Magazine

    Michael Benavidez, 28 years old, Coachella - Possession of Stolen Property

    Matthew Sanchez, 25 years old, Indio -Assault with a Deadly Weapon and Using a Firearm in the Commission of a Felony

    Hugo Cantu Chavez, 46 years old, Coachella - Arrest Warrant for Burglary

    Marcos Padilla, 25 years old, Coachella - Arrest Warrant for Possession of Narcotics

    Thomas Cedeno, 38 years old, Coachella -Violating the Terms of Post-Release Community Supervision

    Hispanic male juvenile, Coachella - Obstructing/Resisting a Peace Officer

Riverside County Sheriff's Department, Coachella Police Department, Indio Police Department, Coachella Valley Narcotic Task Force, Riverside County Regional Gang Task Force, Post-Release Accountability Corrections Team, Federal Bureau of Investigations, California Highway Patrol, Riverside County District Attorney's Office and the Blythe Narcotic Enforcement Team worked jointly in Operation Safe Coachella.

Anyone with information regarding ongoing crime is asked to contact lead investigator Mike Luna at (760) 863-8110.

7 arrested in Coachella after search warrants served

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