[Ppnews] Homeland Security operation targets "gangs"

PPnews at freedomarchives.org PPnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Aug 2 08:32:32 EDT 2005

Two-week effort nets 582 gang arrests

Homeland Security operation targets members in 27 states

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal authorities arrested 582 alleged gang members 
over a two-week period, officials said Monday, targeting an estimated 80 
violent groups they say have spawned street crimes across the country.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff called the gangs "a threat to 
our homeland security and ... a very urgent law enforcement priority."

Investigators picked up most of the offenders between July 16 and July 28 
on immigration violations for being in the United States illegally. 
Seventy-six face criminal charges, ranging from illegal possession of a 
firearm to holding fraudulent documents.

"For too long, these gangs have gone unchecked -- flouting all laws and 
demonstrating a blatant disregard for public safety," Chertoff said in 
announcing the arrests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. ICE 
is an arm of the Homeland Security Department.

Investigators targeted members in 27 states of what they considered to be 
the most violent street gangs, including Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13; 
Surenos; the 18th Street Gang; Latin Kings; the Mexican Mafia; Border 
Brothers; Brown Pride and numerous others.

Many of the arrests came in large urban areas, including 61 in Boston, 
Massachusetts, 28 in Denver, Colorado, and 23 each in Los Angeles, 
California, and Detroit, Michigan. But even smaller cities have been 
infiltrated by the gangs, the arrests showed, including 42 in Birmingham, 
Alabama, and one each in Grand Rapids, Michigan; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; 
and North Platte, Nebraska.

The crackdown is part of ICE's ongoing "Operation Community Shield" 
campaign, targeting gang activity with other federal and state authorities. 
So far, ICE has made 1,057 arrests as part of the sting.

More than half of them have been members of MS-13, a street gang rooted in 
Central America where members have been known to behead enemies and attack 
with grenades and machetes. Federal officials estimate between 8,000 and 
10,000 MS-13 members live in 31 states.

"We're just getting started," said ICE investigations chief Marcy Forman.

Copyright 2005 The 
<http://edition.cnn.com/interactive_legal.html#AP>Associated Press. All 
rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, 
or redistributed.


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