Modesto police assisted FBI agents for several hours Wednesday morning in serving a search warrant in east Modesto.
A Modesto police spokeswoman said that because police were only assisting, questions would have to be directed to the FBI. An FBI spokeswoman in Sacramento said she could not comment while the operation was ongoing.
The incident, referred to by Modesto Police Department Officer Martin Lemus as a tactical operation, involved SWAT and ATF officers.
The warrant was served at 2812 Mission Bell Lane, at a bend where Mission Bell meets Lakehead Lane. When occupants were ordered to come out from the house, a woman and a teenage girl emerged, and later were allowed to remain on the front porch while the residence was searched. MPD animal control also removed a dog from a side fence gate on Lakehead.
The operation appears to have begun about 6 a.m. By 9 a.m., well after the scene was secured, most officers had left but several unmarked MPD and FBI vehicles remained on Mission Bell and Lakehead as the search continued. Lemus said he didn't anticipate any arrests at the scene.
Police talked with neighbors, who said they hadn't been told anything about the nature of the case. But one, who asked his name not be used, suspected it might be related to something he witnessed two weeks back.
That Wednesday, he said, three baby-faced teen males — two black, one Latino — parked a white Volkswagen Beetle on Lakehead and got out. The Latino youth immediately pulled up his hoodie, which made the neighbor suspect something was about to happen.
The youths ran south on Lakehead and then turned the corner west onto Bateman Lane, he said. He heard five pops before the youths ran back onto Lakehead, one of them carrying a handgun. One of the teens yelled, "Did you get him?" the neighbor said, and another answered, "Don't know — keep running."
The youths did not get back in the VW, but appeared to try to get into the 2812 Mission Bell home before hopping fences into yards and presumably fleeing the area. Another neighbor called 911, but both men said they never were interviewed by police.
The day after the shots were fired, the resident who saw the three teens said he was opening his garage door just as another car pulled up and dropped off one of the teens, who got into the VW and drove off.
The Mission Bell/Lakehead/Bateman neighborhood is in an area that's seen violence lately. In early February, a young man was shot five times at a home on the 2800 block of Penny Lane behind Capistrano Elementary School.
In mid-March, 10 people were arrested in connection with a series of shootings tied to feuding families with gang affiliations. The first was New Year's Day, when shots were fired into the garage of a home in the 3400 block of Penny Lane. The Feb. 9 shooting on the 2800 block also was among the incidents.
And just a week ago, an 18-year-old suspect, Sacaria Pereida, was arrested in a March 8 shooting in the area of North McClure Road and Penny Lane.