A federal grand jury returned gun and drug indictments Thursday against four parolees as part of a multi-jurisdiction operation to address violent crime in the city of Fresno, U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott announced in a news release.
“These defendants were all on active parole for prior gun or drug charges— three had ties to criminal gangs, and when arrested, three were in possession of guns and the fourth was in possession of drugs,” Scott said. “The U.S. Attorney’s office has focused enforcement efforts against the most violent criminals in our district and will continue to work with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and community partners to reduce crime, save lives, and restore safety to our communities. The bloodshed must stop.”
Arrests Yielded Additional Guns
All four men charged are Fresno County residents, the Justice Department release said. Shawn Darnyel Matthews, 23, of Clovis was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm while Oshay Laray Pullen, 24, of Fresno and Alejandro Chavarria, 33, of Mendota were charged with being a felon in possession of ammunition. The fourth suspect, Reyes Diaz, 26, of Fresno, was charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and heroin.
Additional guns were found during the apprehension of several of the suspects, authorities said.
“These indictments not only send a message to criminals that seek to wreak havoc on our communities, but they offer some assurance that our proactive collaboration with our state, local and federal partners is delivering tangible results,” said Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp.
Earlier this month, Fresno police chief Andy Hall announced the creation of a violent crime suppression task force to address a spike in shootings and murders in the city. Over 100 shootings and 12 murders occurred in Fresno during the month of September, with many of the crimes gang-related police said.
Standoff at Oakhurst Motel
According to today’s news release, police found Chavarria in Oakhurst coming out of a motel carrying a backpack and duffle bag. When officers approached him, he dropped the backpack, which was found to contain a Glock-style pistol with no serial number and an extended magazine with 30 rounds of ammunition. Chavarria ran back into the motel room and was arrested after a stand-off with police, authorities said.
The duffle bag Chavarria had contained two disassembled AR‑style rifles and three 30-round magazines, according to authorities. Chavarria was previously convicted of attempted carjacking, drug possession and robbery.
Pullen was arrested after he was found in possession of a loaded magazine for a handgun curing a parole check, court documents said. Detectives also found a .40‑caliber Glock-style pistol loaded with a high‑capacity magazine in the car Pullen was in, hidden underneath a child’s safety seat, officials said. Pullen is on parole for assault with a firearm.
Admitted Gang Member
Matthews was wanted on felony warrants as well as a parole warrant, and was found to be in possession of a loaded firearm when he was arrested in Fresno, authorities said. He is on parole for assault with a firearm and admitted to being a West Roy gang member, documents say.
Justice Department officials say a parole search of Diaz’s apartment yielded over 2 kilograms of methamphetamine, over 300 grams of heroin, digital scales, and over $11,000 in cash. Diaz is on parole for permitting another to shoot a firearm from a vehicle with a gang enhancement, they reported.
In an update on social media Monday, Fresno police said 218 felony arrests have been made since the violent crime suppression task force was implemented on Oct. 6 and 95 illegal guns have been confiscated as a result of multi-agency enforcement actions.