VISALIA – On August 14, 2017, Pedro Lopez, 35, of Reedley, was sentenced to 54 years to life in prison for gang crimes related to 2015’s Operation Red Sol gang sweep. Operation Red Sol was a large-scale wiretap operation conducted by California Department of Justice special agents and local law enforcement agencies. The operation targeted the Tulare County Norteno criminal street gang.
Lopez’s conviction was the first jury trial conviction of a defendant charged in the case. Lopez was found guilty on February 24, 2017 of:
- two counts of conspiracy to commit home invasion robbery,
- one count of criminal street gang conspiracy,
- one count of attempted home invasion robbery,
- one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm,
- and one count of being a felon in possession of ammunition.
Each count is a felony and is enhanced with gang allegations.
Lopez was also found to possess a prior felony assault strike and prison term from 2008.
On August 24 and 25, 2015, it became apparent several subjects were plotting to commit multiple home invasion robberies in Visalia. On August 25, gang members, including Lopez, set out to commit the robberies but were stopped by the Visalia Police Department following a high-speed pursuit and foot chase through an east Visalia neighborhood.
“California Department of Justice special agents are often called upon to investigate some of the most violent criminals in this state,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “Their jobs are dangerous, but their work truly contributes to the safety of our streets, communities and the State of California.”