Law Enforcement Takes Aim at Gangs in “Operation Gang Strike” Searches and Arrests Cap 10-Month Investigation
|U.S. Attorney’s Office October 26, 2009|
PORTLAND, OR—Gang members and the gun and drug operations they were running have taken a major hit, thanks to the work of police officers, sheriff’s deputies, and federal agents working together across the metro area. “Operation Gang Strike,” run out of the Metro Gang Task Force, was a 10-month long investigation targeting criminal organizations and gang members responsible for dealing firearms and selling large amounts of crack and powder cocaine in this area. A federal grand jury has indicted 24 people in this case and the federal court has issued 10 search warrants. The operation started in December 2008.
“The Metro Gang Task Force was formed by federal and state prosecutors and law enforcement officials who joined in a common mission: to stop the rising tide of gang violence and drug dealing. These indictments and arrests should send the clear message that we will not tolerate criminal gang activity in our community,” said Acting United States Attorney Kent S. Robinson.
In September 2009, as part of the operation, agents and officers arrested the alleged leader of a multi-state cocaine trafficking organization run by James Ray Yoakum, 58. He and seven co-conspirators face federal charges of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. He remains in custody. Yoakum is alleged to be a long-time associate of the Crips street gang who was supplying other gang associates with cocaine.
Starting this past Friday, October 23, and proceeding through the weekend, local and federal law enforcement officers arrested 19 additional individuals on federal firearm and drug charges as part of a coordinated takedown. More arrests are anticipated in the future. A PDF copy of the superseding indictment, which lists the defendants and charges, is attached to this release.
The majority of the defendants will make their initial appearances before United States Magistrate Judge Dennis Hubel at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, October 26, at the U.S. District Courthouse in Portland.
Over the course of the investigation, law enforcement agencies have seized:
- 35 Firearms
- More than $101,000 in cash
- Approximately three pounds of crack cocaine
- Approximately seven pounds of powder cocaine
- Eight Vehicles
Additionally in September 2009, as part of the investigation of the Yoakum Cocaine Trafficking Organization, a federal search warrant was served on a state licensed in-home daycare facility in Gresham, Oregon. A resident of the facility has been charged as a coconspirator of James Yoakum. The daycare facility has since been shut-down pending a hearing. Investigators are working with the Oregon Department of Human Services.
Through a coordinated law enforcement effort, and with the assistance of evidence gathered through the Gang Strike investigation, officers were able to arrest Lonnell Demarcus George for the August 20, 2009 gang shooting of Emanuel Dante Hall in Northeast Portland.
On August 26, 2009, through the coordinated efforts of the Gang Strike investigation, Jaricho Ray Yoakum, a son of James Ray Yoakum, was arrested in Portland, Oregon by Metro Gang Task Force Officers and Detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department. Jaricho Yoakum was wanted in Los Angeles, California for charges of armed robbery and attempted murder.
The Metro Gang Task Force is comprised of the United States Attorney’s Office, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, Clackamas County District Attorney’s Office, Washington County District Attorney’s Office, and law enforcement officers from the FBI, ATF, Portland Police Bureau, Gresham Police Department, Milwaukie Police Department, Beaverton Police Department, and the Hillsboro Police Department. Other agencies that assisted in this investigation include the US Marshals Oregon Fugitive Task Force, DEA, IRS, Portland Police Bureau Gang Enforcement Team, the Portland Police Bureau Drugs and Vice Division, Washington County’s Westside Interagency Narcotics (WIN) Task Force, the Regional Organized Crime and Narcotics (ROCN) Task Force, and Oregon Department of Human Services.
An indictment is only an accusation of a crime. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Scott Kerin and Jane Shoemaker, both of whom are members of the United States Attorney’s Office Gang Unit.