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VICTORVILLE, Calif. -- More than 740 people have been arrested during the operation. Arrestees include those with parole and probation violations, as well as drug charges and felonies, according to statistics released by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.
While many citizens are happy with the high number of arrests, even more are wondering what will happen when the approximately 50 extra law enforcement officers go back down the hill.
"It's great, but I'm afraid all of the lowlifes are just gonna crawl back out from under their rocks," said Anne Marie Johnson, 72, of Victorville.
"We can't let up," said 1st District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt, who allocated $100,000 for the $25,000 operation.
He went on to say that all law enforcement agencies including the Sheriff's Department, San Bernardino County Probation and the District Attorney's office have all the resources they need to continue to fight the battle.
"If needed, I would encourage the communities to get behind the county to do it again," said Rita Vogler, councilwoman for Hesperia, who added that citizens should be able to use the extra manpower if the need arises. "When you have those resources available as a taxpayer, you should be able to use them."
Operation Desert Heat kicked off on May 30 as a way to target gangs and criminal activity in the Victor Valley. Since then there have been at least 740 arrests, including one incident that ended up with the arrests of half a family.
While trying to locate Ruben Carter, 27, of Adelanto on Thursday night, deputies and parole agents were able to find Carter's mother, Rhonda Carter, who also had a warrant out for her arrest, according to Deputy Gerald Leininger with the Sheriff's Department.
As officials were speaking to Ruben Carter's sisters, one, Rosie Rudison, gave a false name as well as having warrants. A second sister was cited but not arrested and a man, Everado Duarte, 27, was also arrested for parole violations, according to Leininger.
"People like that need to leave us law-abiding citizens alone and I am glad they were taken away," Johnson said.
More than two months ago, San Bernardino County Sheriff Gary Penrod was approached by several High Desert city leaders about the gang-related problems plaguing the desert.
These were problems that citizens were taking to their city government, Penrod said during the initial press conference.
Along with the funds contributed by the county, the individual cities contributed a total of $35,000 and the Sheriff's Department absorbed the rest.
"I look forward to being briefed by the sheriff at the end of the operation as to what our next step will be," Mitzelfet said.
While the operation came together only a few weeks ago, this is not a new concept, Vogler said.
"Many officers in the past have come forward with this idea. I'm just glad we were able to do it," she said. "I, speaking for the Hesperia council, would be willing to do this again as often as needed to work with the county and other agencies."
She went on to say that an editorial in the Daily Press also shows that many people are thinking the same way.
"(Don Holland's) editorial really got my attention," Vogler said.