SANTA ANA — Wednesday's countywide gang sweep — a three-year effort dubbed Operation Black Flag — began with a lead in Costa Mesa, law enforcement officials said.
Following the initial tip, the investigative trail led Santa Ana police investigators to Cesar "Roach" Munguia, 31. The high-ranking member of Forming Kaos, a Costa Mesa street gang, is accused of dealing guns, methamphetamines, cocaine and heroin, said Costa Mesa Police Capt. Les Gogerty.
Costa Mesa was "basically where it started," Gogerty said.
After Santa Ana police contacted their Costa Mesa colleagues about Munguia, the multilevel investigation involving local, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies "just blossomed like crazy," Gogerty said.
According to the indictment, Munguia most recently lived in Huntington Beach. He faces federal charges, including racketeering and conspiracy to distribute narcotics.
On Wednesday, the FBI announced charges against 99 members of various criminal street gangs affiliated with the Mexican Mafia. The announcement came after 500 law enforcement officers fanned out across Orange County, searched various locations and arrested 26 suspects on federal charges.