UPDATE: An investigation into Vietnamese street gangs in San Jose expanded into a multi-state, multi-agency probe that yielded 23 arrests, loads of drugs and an alligator.
San Jose police held a press conference Wednesday afternoon, where Chief Eddie Garcia released photos of the suspects (posted below)—one of them a veteran SJPD officer. Six more suspects remain at large. During the course of the months-long probe into organized crime, Garcia said, police identified three suspects affiliated with Duong Café on Senter Road who conspired to bribe a San Jose cop.
He also released a list of items seized in the crackdown that culminated Tuesday. By way of 34 search warrants served in California and one in Louisiana, investigators catalogued the following evidence:
- Five handguns
- 69 illegal gambling machines
- Over $200,000 in cash
- Body armor, jewelry, phones, computers and financial records
- 4,000 ecstasy tablets
- 300 Xanex pills
- 200 molly capsules
- Illegal steroids
- Over 600 pounds of marijuana (420 pounds of which was seized by the Louisiana State Police en route from San Jose)
- Several vehicles, including one with a hidden compartment stashed with $100,000 in cash
- An alligator
The San Jose Police Department arrested one of their own Tuesday for allegedly leaking sensitive intel to a Vietnamese street gang.
Thirty-four-year-old Officer Derrick Antonio, a nine-year department veteran, was booked at Santa Clara County’s Main Jail on six felony counts, including unauthorized computer access and accessory after the fact. As of this morning, however, he was not in custody and has yet to be scheduled for an arraignment.
The arrest stemmed from a citywide crackdown on a Vietnamese street gang suspected of extortion, violence, drug dealing, public corruption and running illegal gambling rings. Gang members allegedly extorted owners of Vietnamese cafes, where police say they set up shop and where at least four unsolved murders took place over the past four years.
Police say the five-month investigation—dubbed Operation Gang of Thrones—culminated Tuesday with 33 search warrants and 21 arrests.
Antonio was placed on paid leave two months ago when allegations of criminal involvement first surfaced, authorities said.
San Jose police Chief Eddie Garcia said he will release more information at a press conference later today. Joining him will be agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to Transparent California‘s public employee database, Antonio made $251,000 last year in salary and benefits, including $106,000 in base pay and $17,600 in overtime. His arrest came only a day after former correctional deputy, Timmy Tri, was charged with assaulting an inmate at the San Jose jail.
Allegations against the officers come at a time when both agencies—the SJPD and the Sheriff’s Office, which oversees the county’s two jails—have been struggling with low morale and staffing shortages.
This week, SJPD announced that it may redeploy 50 detectives and officers in special units to patrol as part of an emergency plan to put more cops on the streets. The units that would be hardest hit from the proposed reassignments would reportedly be the ones that investigate street crimes, gangs and sexual assault.