By Barbara Starr
Seven active Marines, seven former Marines and a Navy sailor were among 50 people arrested in a sweeping Southern California raid aimed at shutting down a network that allegedly dealt in stolen cars, drugs, weapons and other military gear.
San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis announced 64-count indictment that followed an eight-month undercover operation. Arraignments occurred on Thursday after a series of arrests earlier in the week as part of a law enforcement effort code-named "Operation Perfect Storm."
Charges include vehicle theft, insurance fraud, sales of cocaine and methamphetamine, sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines, illegal gun possession, burglary, possession of stolen military equipment and insurance fraud.
Authorities said undercover law enforcement operatives infiltrated criminal groups in the San Diego area.
Suspects were invited to an undercover storefront where they allegedly sold detectives stolen vehicles, firearms, narcotics and military grade equipment. The activity was videotaped.
The military gear included more than 10,000 rounds of ammunition, high capacity magazines, bullet-proof vests, Kevlar helmets, night vision goggles, gas masks, and thermal sights.
The operation involved local law enforcement as well as the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Ninety-two stolen vehicles were recovered.