At least a decade ago, street gang members from MS-13 flooded into the rural town of Mendota, California. A small town about 30 miles west of Fresno. From 2015 to 2017, the gang brutally murdered at least 14 people. But no one in the town talks about it.
The MS-13 gang is very well known for kidnapping, drug trafficking, and extortion, which has kept most of the city leaders and residents quiet. Arrests were only made in two of the 14 killings.
In August, an operation led by federal and local agents was able to capture 25 of the alleged gang members. Local law enforcement said the operation "completely dismantled" the gang in Mendota.
But residents in the town said they don't believe the violence is completely gone, because they still live in constant fear of the violence brought to their town years ago by MS-13.
“There is a lot of fear. A lot of people are afraid to acknowledge the element” Joseph Riofrio, a former Mendota City Council member said.
“We have a community that’s reluctant to be a witness. We had a body count and nobody was talking about it. Maybe the city itself didn’t ring the bell loud enough.”
Read more at The Sacramento Bee.