U.S.

US Immigration Enforcement Agency Arrests 1378 in Largest Anti-Gang Operation

US Immigration Enforcement Agency Arrests 1378 in Largest Anti-Gang Operation

A recent U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement anti-gang operation resulted in over a thousand arrests nationwide, and some were in Virginia. Of those arrested, 1,098 were arrested on criminal charges, the agency said.

Homan added that "efforts to dismantle gangs are much more effective in areas where partnership with local law enforcement is strongest".

A nationwide anti-gang operation led to the arrest of almost 1,400 transnational and local gang members, including more than 200 in the Houston and Corpus Christi areas, federal officials said Thursday.

ICE says this operation involved numerous state, local and federal law enforcement agencies and ran from March 26 to May 6.

The focus was not exclusively on immigrants: Of the 1,378 total arrested, 933 were US citizens and 445 were foreign nationals, ICE reported.

Authorities determined gang affiliation based on whether an individual was "convicted of violating Title 18 USC 521 or any other federal or state law criminalizing or imposing civil consequences for gang-related activity".

Unlike the agency's immigration section, HSI has broad powers to enforce hundreds of federal laws on crimes like child exploitation, human smuggling, and drug and weapons trafficking.Its agents routinely arrest US citizens.

In an operation in San Antonio, Texas, agents found cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, four guns, and confiscated $48,000 in cash, officials said. "Because the gangs do have a specific organizational structure", said McElroy.

The gangs affiliated with the suspects included the Bloods, the Surenos, the MS-13 and the Crips, according to the ICE news release.

Houston, New York, Atlanta and Newark, New Jersey were among the hardest hit areas, and among those arrested were three of Barack Obama's "dreamers" protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

According to ICE, 280 arrests were soley immigration-related. Of the arrests made in the Baltimore area, 14 were criminal arrests and 21 were arrests for immigration violations. Outside of this operation, many others have had their DACA revoked by USCIS for gang membership, but remain in the country.


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