Eighty gang members arrested in TX sweep

June 30, 2009 10:22:32 AM PDT
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents -- working jointly with federal, state and local law enforcement officers -- arrested 116 street gang members, gang associates, and immigration status violators following a five-day operation which ended Friday.The arrests were made as part of an ongoing initiative called Operation Community Shield. As part of the initiative, ICE partners with other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies across the country to target the significant public safety threat posed by transnational street gangs. The gang arrests occurred in the cities of Beaumont, Corpus Christi and Houston, Texas.

"ICE uses all of the available law enforcement tools to dismantle violent street gangs," said Robert P. Rutt, special agent in charge of the Office of Investigations in Houston. "ICE's Operation Community Shield is an excellent example of federal, state, and local law enforcement working together to keep our communities safe."

The gang members taken into custody during the enforcement action are linked to at least 14 street gangs, including: Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), Surenos Trece, Aryan Brotherhood, Latin Kings, La Raza13, Black Disciples, Houstone, Tango Blast, Bloods and Crips to name a few. Three of those arrested possessed firearms at the time of their arrest, which included an assault rifle, a shotgun and a handgun.

Eighty of those arrested have gang affiliations; 60 are being charged with criminal violations; and 13 cases are being referred to the US Attorney's Office for re-entry after deportation. The remaining individuals were arrested on administrative immigration violations and will be placed in deportation proceedings. They will be held in ICE custody and scheduled for a deportation hearing before an immigration judge.

Those arrested during the operation include:

  • a 38-year-old member of the 18th Street gang with convictions for manufacturing controlled substances, unlawfully carrying a weapon, theft, forgery and receiving stolen property;
  • a 31-year-old member of the Black Gangsta Disciples with convictions for possessing a controlled substance and carrying a concealed weapon;
  • and a 27 year old, member of MS-13 with two convictions for vehicle burglary, theft, inhaling and ingesting a volatile chemical and possession of a controlled substance.
  • To report suspicious activity, call ICE's 24-hour toll-free hotline at: 1-866-347-2423 or visit www.ice.gov.

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