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14 Arrested in Fontana Drug Gang Probe

Authorities, who say they seized cash, narcotics and weapons, allege the suspects are top members of a family-run operation.

April 13, 2005|Susannah Rosenblatt | Times Staff Writer

More than a dozen alleged top members of a family-run Fontana drug trafficking gang have been arrested and guns, drugs, cars and cash seized after a six-month investigation, authorities said Tuesday.

The investigation by Fontana police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration was capped by the March 23 arrest of 14 alleged members of the Hard Times Gang on suspicion of possessing and distributing methamphetamine. Three other suspects remain at large.

Authorities allege the drugs were stored at residences in Rialto, Fontana and Bloomington.

"We've made a huge dent in that operation," Fontana Police Chief Larry Clark said. He said police had been tracking several Hard Times members since juvenile arrests more than 15 years ago.

Authorities say the gang's alleged leader, Christian Ivan Sanchez, 24, of Rialto, oversaw and assisted in drug deals by, among others, his parents, Clemencia Torres Sanchez, 48, and Candelario Sanchez-Llamas, 52, also of Rialto. Police allege Sanchez's brother and cousins were also involved in the operation and said they were arrested.

In all, 60 people were arrested over the course of the investigation, which began in fall 2004, said DEA Special Agent Thomas Ethridge.

"People will be looking over their shoulders the next time they

Police said that during the operation they seized nearly 27 pounds of methamphetamine and 35 pounds of marijuana, in addition to cocaine, crack cocaine and black tar heroin. They also confiscated 31 firearms, nearly $28,000 in cash and four vehicles, including a Hummer with three seat-back LCD TV screens and an elaborate stereo system.

"I would say these guys were living a pretty good lifestyle," Ethridge said.

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