Internecine warfare among rival Sikh gangs in California lead to mass arrests; officials say ‘bloodbath’ prevented

Operation Broken Sword of Sutter County, California District Attorney’s Office which posted photos of those involved in the shooting. PHOTO Facebook

Gang violence between rival Sikh groups has resulted in the arrest of at least 17 men, including two men wanted for murder in India, in California in a multi-agency law enforcement operation. The fights between the two gangs started in at least 2018 with the sword attack during a Sikh parade in Yuba City.

The confrontations “have escalated to shooting beginning with the shooting at a wedding party in September of 2021 here in Yuba City” and ten incidents involving the gangs including the shooting of five men outside the Sikh temple in Stockton in August 2022 have been recorded, Sutter County District Attorney Jennifer Dupre said.

Those arrested belonged to two rival gangs known as “Minta’s” and “AK47” and the shooting victims were all gang members, Dupre said.

Statements by her and other law enforcement officials did not indicate any religious motive, although Dupre said that what propelled the violence between two gangs was “murky”.

“They started out as one group and one faction broke off and since then, they have been rivals trying to outdo each other”, showing up at places and trying to shoot each other, she said.

Operation Broken Sword. Arms seized b y Sutter County police. PHOTO April 17, 2023 post on Facebook @Sutter County District Attorney

There have been at least ten incidents involving the two gangs and 11 people were injured, she said.

The latest incident was on March 26 in Sacramento during a Sikh parade in which two people were critically injured.

Dupre said that law enforcement stopped two vehicles before reaching the parade and seven men were arrested and several guns and assault weapons with large capacity magazines were seized.

She said, “We were able to stop a mass casualty incident if those weapons had gotten into the parade. It could have been a bloodbath”.

The official praised Sikh community leaders who condemned the violence and said the arrests do not “in any way reflect or represent a vibrant Sikh community that is such an important and vital part of the greater community in this region”

Two of the arrested men were “fugitives from India or wanted on a number of murders out of India”.

They were being held without bail and California authorities will have to find out about their extradition from international authorities, she said at a news conference. A chart released by her office showing 17 men arrested during what authorities called “Operation Broken Sword” identified the two wanted in India as Pavittar Singh and Husandeep Singh.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta said that because of the operation guns “are out of the hands of dangerous individuals” and “during the investigation we prevented, at least two additional shootings”.

Dupre said that 500 law enforcement personnel from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Agency, local police and anti-gang forces were involved in the operation named for a 2018 incident in Yuba City in which a man was attacked so violently that the sword broke.

During the raids child pornography, narcotics, 41 firearms including AR15 semi-automatic rifles, AK47 assault rifles and at least one machine gun were seized, she said. One person was even arrested for child pornography, she said.

(Used with permission from South Asia Monitor)



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