Nine motorcyclists have been arrested and are facing felony criminal charges for their involvement in an incident that occurred on the Interstate 405 freeway in February 2014. The arrests were part of “Operation Valentine,” a multi-agency operation that included the California Highway Patrol (CHP), the Los Angeles County Taskforce for Regional Auto theft Prevention (TRAP), the U.S. Marshals Service, and the Dept. of Insurance Fraud Division.
“Operation Valentine” was organized following a lengthy CHP investigation into the Feb. 15, 2014 incident in which a CHP officer observed a large group of motorcyclists on the I-405 freeway, near Sepulveda Pass, aggressively blocking all traffic lanes, performing stunts, and behaving in an overall reckless manner. The officer attempted to stop the lead rider; however, the motorcyclist failed to yield to the patrol vehicle’s lights and siren, and a pursuit ensued. The patrol vehicle was then deliberately blocked by fellow motorcyclists as they dangerously veered into the officer’s path, intentionally preventing the apprehension of the fleeing suspect.
“This type of behavior is becoming a very disturbing and dangerous trend throughout our state. In this incident, hundreds of drivers were not only endangered, they were unnecessarily delayed from carrying on with their lives,” said CHP Southern Division Chief Dan Bower.
CHP investigators later identified nine suspects involved in the evading, threatenin, and interfering with the officer. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office filed felony criminal charges on all nine suspects and issued arrest warrants. On Jan. 15, arrest teams traveled as far as Bakersfield in their search, located all nine suspects, and booked them into various jail facilities in Los Angeles County.
“The CHP is committed to ensuring that all motorists in California have the ability to travel freely on the state’s highways without fear, intimidation or delay. The conduct displayed by the individuals in this incident will not be tolerated, and future perpetrators will be similarly arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” added Chief Bower.