Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Operation Double Down results in 49 arrests

"The good guys 49, the bad guys 0."

That's how Detective/Sergeant Patrick Yates of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department Fallbrook substation summed up Operation Double Down, which resulted in the arrest of 49 people Sept. 21.

Deputies from the Fallbrook substation along with personnel from other units within the Sheriff's department and other law enforcement agencies made surprise visits to residences in Fallbrook, Bonsall, Rainbow, De Luz, Vista and Oceanside, serving arrest and search warrants from 7 a.m. to

2 p.m.

A nine-month operation targeted at drug dealers, Operation Double Down was a follow up to Operation El Niño, which concluded in summer 2016. A member of the crime suppression team came up with the name Operation Double Down.

"We were discussing the need to go after drug dealers that came to Fallbrook to fill the void created by the arrests that we made in El Niño, so we came up with the name because we were doubling down on the operation we ran last summer," said Yates.

Yates said the war on drugs is a continual battle.

"There’s always going to be drug users and they're still going to need to support their habit because most of them are addicted, so there’s always going to be people to fill their needs by providing the drugs," said Yates. "Just like El Niño, when we had a whole new group of people start selling, it’s likely after this one that there’s going to be another group that’s going to fill the void created by these arrests.

"Guys that haven’t been arrested or the ones that are flying under our radar, so to speak, there’s an opportunity for them," continued Yates. "But they should know this isn’t the end all be all. There will be other operations that will still be targeting drug dealers."

During the course of the nine months, deputies with the Fallbrook Sheriff's Substation, Sheriff's Special Investigations Division (SID) and Criminal Intelligence Detail (CID) conducted more than 50 undercover "buy-walk" operations. They bought fentanyl, heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine from the suspects

"We started off with around seven initial targets and it kept growing and growing because we’d target one guy and find out he had a connection to another guy or another girl," said Yates. "So the operation ended up going a little longer than we expected. At some point you have to end it and we decided on (Sept. 21) with the targets that we had."

Yates said more than 100 officers were involved Sept. 21 and more than 25 residences were visited. The warrants were served without any major problems, according to Yates.

"We had one guy arrested for resisting arrest," said Yates. "Less lethal force was used on him. He didn't sustain any injuries but cooperated after that."

The suspects arrested faced varied sentences depending on their criminal background.

"Most of them had warrants, so the warrants were in the system," said Yates. "So, essentially we picked them up for the warrants that the district attorney’s office and assistant U.S. attorney’s office had already issued. It was all worked out so we could bring them straight to jail or the metropolitan detention center downtown (San Diego). The attorneys were waiting for them and expecting them. They had the cases ready for when they were arrested."

In addition to making arrests, deputies recovered stolen weapons as well as property items connected with at least 13 residential burglaries in Fallbrook. The stolen property included a pickup truck, a truckload of household items, electronics, furniture, tools, toys, shoes, clothing, as well as $15,000 worth of custom carved wooden bowls.

"We were very excited to recover all the property that we did," said Yates. "We filled one 20-foot box truck with what we believe is recovered stolen property."

Since one burglar was targeting vacated homes, Yates said it's likely some people are unaware they've been burglarized.

"We believe there are some potential victims out there that as of yet don't know they been victimized," said Yates. "Some of the residences burglarized were house estate sells or houses that were staged for sale. No one lived in them but they still had valuable property inside."

Yates said the Sheriff's Department will work to get the property back to their rightful owners as soon as possible.

"We ask people to please bear with us," said Yates. "It's going to be awhile before we tag and catalog everything that was recovered, but we'll get it back to the people as quickly as we can. This is a big bust and with lots and lots of victims and we want to do this right so the people that stole their property will get the maximum sentence and not be walking out and doing the same thing again in a few weeks."

Yates said seeing Operation Double Down end successfully was very satisfying, and admitted that he and fellow detectives were getting anxious as Sept. 21 approached.

"We were joking it was like going to Disneyland in that you couldn't go to sleep," said Yates. "It wasn't because it was exciting, it was because of high standards. We know these are bad guys and we want to put them in jail, and the closer you get to the take down the more you start thinking, 'what did I do wrong, what can we do better, what do we have to tie up, how many loose ends need to be tied up.'

"So when we actually do the take down and it was as successful as it was, it was a pretty good feeling that we did a good job and supported the community that we serve, because that is important to us," concluded Yates.

San Diego County Sheriff's Department photo in Deb's scans

Caption: Forty-nine people were arrested Sept. 21 when San Diego County Sheriff's deputies and other law enforcement officials served arrest and search warrants as part of Operation Double Down.


Reader Comments(0)