Federal grand jury indicts four Operation Trailblazer suspects after Golden West High shooting

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FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Mark Remily and other authorities announced Thursday, January 13, 2022 the arrest of dozens of members of the Sureño criminal street gang for their involvement in the 2020 murders of three teenagers at Golden West High School in Visalia. Operation Trailblazer also uncovered a drug and firearm trafficking ring.
FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Mark Remily and other authorities announced Thursday, January 13, 2022 the arrest of dozens of members of the Sureño criminal street gang for their involvement in the 2020 murders of three teenagers at Golden West High School in Visalia. Operation Trailblazer also uncovered a drug and firearm trafficking ring.

Four known Sureño gang members were indicted by a federal grand jury in Fresno after a multi-agency investigation uncovered an international drug and firearm trafficking operation.

The investigation of the Tulare County Sureños was dubbed "Operation Trailblazer," and stemmed from the May 2020 triple homicide outside Visalia's Golden West High School.

Operation Trailblazer resulted in more than two dozen arrests, including three Visalia homicide suspects, and the seizure of weapons and drugs.

Family and friends of shooting victims gather Wednesday at Golden West High School. A shootout the night before left Jose Carlos Hernandez Pena, 19, Isaiah Rule, 18, and Blake Medeiros, 19, dead at the scene.
Family and friends of shooting victims gather Wednesday at Golden West High School. A shootout the night before left Jose Carlos Hernandez Pena, 19, Isaiah Rule, 18, and Blake Medeiros, 19, dead at the scene.

The following suspects were arrested by federal agents:

  • Jonathan Gallegos, 31, of Ivanhoe

  • Andres Perez, 19, of Visalia

  • Jesus Angulo, 33, of Woodlake

  • Malachai Serrano, 31, of San Antonio, Texas

The men were indicted on suspicion of distributing methamphetamine (Gallegos and Perez), conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine (Gallegos, Perez, and Serrano), using a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking offense (Gallegos, Perez, and Serrano), conspiring to use a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking offense (Gallegos, Perez, Serrano), and possessing with intent to distribute cocaine (Gallegos and Angulo).

During the investigation, investigators discovered that Gallegos and Angulo were traveling to Southern California and into Mexico to obtain drugs. Gallegos and Perez were then shipping the drugs from the Ivanhoe post office to homes connected with Serrano, in Texas.

Serrano and his "associates" would sell those drugs in Texas and use the money to buy firearms. He is a felon and can't lawfully buy firearms. Instead, he was others in Texas to buy firearms for him, investigators said.

Family and friends of shooting victims gather Wednesday at Golden West High School. A shootout the night before left Jose Carlos Hernandez Pena, 19, Isaiah Rule, 18, and Blake Medeiros, 19, dead at the scene.
Family and friends of shooting victims gather Wednesday at Golden West High School. A shootout the night before left Jose Carlos Hernandez Pena, 19, Isaiah Rule, 18, and Blake Medeiros, 19, dead at the scene.

The weapons were then shipped back to Gallegos and Perez in California, as payment for the drugs. Gallegos planned to sell those firearms to his drug suppliers, investigators said. Gallegos is also a felon.

More than 8 kilograms of cocaine, several pounds of marijuana, and more than 20 firearms were seized by federal agents.

Visalia detectives arrested 15 people in connection with the operation. Seven of those arrests are directly connected with the deadly shootings of Jose Hernandez-Peña, 19, Isaiah Rule, 18, and Blake Medeiros, 19, in May 2020. The men were selling drugs, police said, in the parking lot and were shot as part of the drug deal gone wrong.

On Monday, Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux is expected to discuss "significant" arrests and seizures made by deputies as part of Phase Two of Operation Trailblazer.

This article originally appeared on Visalia Times-Delta: Federal grand jury indicts four Operation Trailblazer suspects

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