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Three adults and two juveniles were arrested earlier this morning in connection with the vandalism of the Fresno County Peace Officers Memorial last May. The investigation also led to the discovery of a previously unidentified street gang here in Fresno.
**As part of the Sheriff’s Office practice, the name of the street gang is not being released in order to not give them the publicity they crave.**
Arrested were 24 year old Mike Anthony Estrada, 21 year old Ruben Michael Banuelos, 20 year old Daniel Jimenez, and two 17 year old male juveniles, all from Fresno.
On May 15th of this year, the Sheriff’s Office began an investigation into the vandalism of the memorial in Courthouse Park. During the investigation, the same graffiti was discovered at other locations in downtown Fresno. Based on the nature of the graffiti, and acting on a tip from a local media outlet the investigation was turned over to the Rural MAGEC Team.
Detectives were able to identify the three suspects responsible for the vandalism. As they investigated further, they learned at least one of the suspects was associated with a well-known criminal street gang in the mid-west and east coast, but not previously identified in Fresno County. As the investigation progressed, detectives identified approximately 25 members of the gang in Fresno, some of whom were wanted.
Early this morning, detectives from MAGEC, along with members of the Sheriff’s and Clovis PD’s SWAT Teams served search warrants at the following seven locations in Fresno;
Estrada and one of the juveniles were arrested at the residence on E Swift Ave. As SWAT members served the warrant, the juvenile attempted to flee out a back window but thought better of it after seeing law enforcement in the back yard. Both were taken into custody without incident. Estrada was later booked into the Fresno County Jail on a felony narcotics warrant and being a felon in possession of ammunition. The juvenile was later booked into the Fresno County Juvenile Justice Facility on charges of home invasion robbery and vehicle theft.
Banuelos was arrested without incident at the residence on E Lane Ave. During the search of the residence an explosive device was discovered. Members of the Sheriff’s Explosive Ordnance Detail responded and took control of the device. Banuelos was later booked on charges of possessing the device.
Jimenez was arrested at the N Peach location on an outstanding warrant for probation violations. He was later booked into the jail.
The other 17 year old juvenile, responsible for the vandalism to the memorial, was arrested at one of the locations on E Liberty Ave. He was later booked into the Fresno JJC for felony vandalism and gang related charges.
Detectives are currently looking for two other 17 year old juveniles who have been identified as being involved in the vandalism to the memorial.
The investigation is continuing into both the vandalism investigation and the identification of the criminal street gang that is apparently trying to establish itself in Fresno.
Fresno County Search and Rescue personnel, in cooperation with Sequoia and Kings National Park staff, have successfully located a Virginia man who was reported missing yesterday morning. 62 year old William Roberts of Lexington, Virginia was found in good condition in Crown Valley.
Shortly before 6:00 this evening, members of the Fresno County Sheriff's Search & Rescue (SAR) team located Robert Ash near the intersection of Dakota and Teilman in Fresno. Mr. Ash was found to be in good health and has been reunited with his family. A total of 25 SAR members participated in this successful operation.
Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims addresses the impact Prop 47 will have on Californians and law enforcement.
Shortly after 11:00 p.m. Friday, Fresno County Sheriff’s deputies arrested 23-year-old Luis Benitez-Lopez. Lopez was caught breaking into a home on the 200 block of S. Bailey Ave. in Fresno.
Shortly after 1:00 a.m. Friday, three to five men armed with guns committed a home invasion robbery on the 6700 block of N. Lafayette Ave. in Fresno.
Thursday afternoon, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Marshal’s Task Force assisted Arroyo Grande Police in the arrest of 36-year-old Ignacio Franco Palomar, a self-admitted gang member.
The Fresno County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team rescued three Tulare County men earlier today that became lost near Sequoia Lake. They are 38-year-old Steve Ellis of Exeter, 45-year-old Glenn Garlin of Visalia and 49-year-old Richard Lamb of Exeter.
Public Information Officer
Deputy Chris Curtice
Public Information Officer