Several gang members in Ventura County were arrested Wednesday after a multi-agency sting operation.
This was the third phase of Operation SuperNova, which targeted street gangs in that county with ties to the Mexican Mafia.
A total of 17 gang members have been charged with drug trafficking. If convicted, they could face a minimum of 10 years in prison.
However, three of the suspects remain at large.
“We have two that we believe that are in Mexico… and one that we believe is local that we’re looking for in the local area,” said Timothy Delaney, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Criminal Division in Los Angeles.
Despite that, authorities believe the multi-year operation will put a dent in the sale of narcotics in Ventura County.
"We'll certainly see a reduction in the availability of narcotics on the street,” said Delaney, “and then hopefully we'll see a reduction violent crime just to the general regular community, by taking these people off the streets that trafficked guns and drugs and putting them away. "
Operation SuperNova started with the first takedown in 2011, when 11 defendants were convicted and received sentences of up to 25 years in prison. In the second phase, which took place last year, six people were charged in connection with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and illegally sell firearms.
Throughout the course of the three-phase operation, investigators have seized five kilos of cocaine, six pounds of heroin and over 18 pounds of methamphetamine, along with 46 firearms.
Operation SuperNova was a joint effort between the FBI, the Ventura Police Department and the Oxnard Police Department.