Suspected Escondido 'Diablos' gang members arrested on meth, firearms charges

Posted at 4:35 PM, May 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-03 19:37:01-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV)--The U.S. Attorney's Office announced Wednesday a crackdown on street gangs has resulted in federal charges against suspected Escondido gang members.

RELATED: 55 charged in massive North County crackdown on drug, gun traffickers

The unsealed drug trafficking charges include the prosecution of 16 suspected members and associates of the Diablos street gang. 

The long-term investigation, which culminated this Spring, has netted more than 60 firearms and 30 pounds of methamphetamine and indictments charging crimes such as racketeering, money laundering and gun, drug or sex trafficking. 

RELATED: Driver killed in crossfire of gang shooting on way home from Bible study

The four Escondido cases involved the use of wiretaps and the interception of more than 20,000 telephone calls and text messages and eventually resulted in the seizure of 13 pounds of high-quality methamphetamine, 10 rifles and handguns, including four AR-15-type rifles, and AK-47, and SKS rifle and two handguns. 

"The arrests in these investigations illustrate that when there is violence and drug trafficking in our communities, it will be dealt with swiftly," said Drug Enforcement Agency special agent William Sherman. "Local and federal agencies will combine resources and do what is necessary to ensure the safety of our citizens." 

RELATED: Accused gang member pleads not guilty in fatal shooting of Escondido woman

The investigation helped identify 24-year-old Dionicio Crespin Torrez, the alleged shooter of Escondido resident Catherine Kennedy. Kennedy was fatally shot on March 7 as she drove home from church. According to the Office of the U.S. Attorney's statement, Torrez is believed to be a member of the Diablos street gang. 

The names of the defendants, who range in age from 22 to 55 and hail from various San Diego-area neighborhoods, are as follows: 

  • Gustavo Cisneros
  • Rafael Zamora
  • Eduardo Rojo
  • David Bollschweiler
  • Jesus Salazar
  • Leonel Ayala-Arambula
  • Augustine Aragon
  • Francisco Torres-Cortez
  • Sarah Hudgins
  • Adrian Nieves Garcia 
  • Fredy Cruz
  • Marcia Cervantes 
  • Charles Osterholtz
  • Justin Cartwright
  • David Trejo

Sandy Coronilla is a KGTV digital producer. Follow her @10NewsSandy