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ICE Arrests Nearly 1,000 Gang Members And Associates In Multi-City Operation

The Department of Homeland Security has arrested nearly 1,000 gang members and their associates in a multi-week, multi-city operation, Immigration and Customs Enforcement says.

The six-week “Project Wildfire” surge resulted in the arrests of 976 gang members and associates — from 239 different gangs in 282 different U.S. cities — as well as 231 other individuals for criminal and/or immigration violations. It was led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

“Of the 976 gang members or associates arrested: 913 were charged with criminal offenses and 63 were arrested administratively for immigration violations; 650 had violent criminal histories, including 19 individuals wanted on active warrants for murder and 15 for rape or sexual assault; and 199 were foreign nationals, of which 151 were gang members and gang associates,” ICE revealed in a release.

According to ICE, most of the arrests were of U.S. citizens. However, the operation netted 199 foreign nationals from 18 different countries in South and Central America, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean.

ICE reports that a majority of the gang members arrested were affiliated with the Sureños, Norteños, Bloods and Crips, as well as Puerto Rican-based gangs and some prison-based gangs—with the most of the enforcement activity taking place in the San Juan, Dallas, El Paso, Los Angeles and Detroit areas.

“Criminal gangs inflict violence and fear upon our communities, and without the attention of law enforcement, these groups can spread like a cancer,” ICE Director Sarah R. Saldaña said in a statement. “That’s why ICE works with law enforcement partners around the country to stamp out gang activity wherever it takes place.”

In addition to the arrests the government also seized  “seized 82 firearms, 5.2 kilograms of methamphetamine, 7.8 kilograms of marijuana, 5.6 kilograms of cocaine, 1.5 kilograms of heroin, $379,399 in U.S currency, counterfeit merchandise with a manufactures suggested retail price of $547,534 and five vehicles,” according to ICE’s release.

The law enforcement crack down, according to ICE, included:

• In Puerto Rico and central Florida, 46 members of the Zorrilla criminal organization were arrested for various charges of manufacturing and distributing narcotics, money laundering and other related criminal activity.

• In Lubbock, Texas, HSI special agents and task force officers arrested 122 known or suspected gang members and associates from the Bloods, Crips Rollin 60s, Mexican Mafia, Sureños, West Texas, Raza Unida, Aryan Brotherhood, White Aryan Resistance, West Side, Gangster Disciples, Peckerwood, Texas Syndicate and West Texas Tango.

• In the Detroit area, HSI special agents and task force officers arrested 89 gang members and associates with ties to gangs such as the Latin Counts, Folk Nation, Sureños and Atherton Terrace.

• In the Chicago area, HSI special agents arrested 30 gang members and affiliates with ties to the Sureños 13, Latin Kings, La Raza, Conservative Vice Lords, Gangster Disciples, 4 Corner Hustlers, Maniac Latin Disciples and the Vice Lords.

• In California’s Imperial Valley, HSI special agents arrested 28 individuals, including 10 documented gang members of the Brole, North Side Centro, West Side Centro, South Side Centro and Pilgrim Street gangs.

• In Puerto Rico and central Florida, 46 members of the Zorrilla criminal organization were arrested for various charges of manufacturing and distributing narcotics, money laundering and other related criminal activity.

• In Lubbock, Texas, HSI special agents and task force officers arrested 122 known or suspected gang members and associates from the Bloods, Crips Rollin 60s, Mexican Mafia, Sureños, West Texas, Raza Unida, Aryan Brotherhood, White Aryan Resistance, West Side, Gangster Disciples, Peckerwood, Texas Syndicate and West Texas Tango.

• In the Detroit area, HSI special agents and task force officers arrested 89 gang members and associates with ties to gangs such as the Latin Counts, Folk Nation, Sureños and Atherton Terrace.

• In the Chicago area, HSI special agents arrested 30 gang members and affiliates with ties to the Sureños 13, Latin Kings, La Raza, Conservative Vice Lords, Gangster Disciples, 4 Corner Hustlers, Maniac Latin Disciples and the Vice Lords.

• In California’s Imperial Valley, HSI special agents arrested 28 individuals, including 10 documented gang members of the Brole, North Side Centro, West Side Centro, South Side Centro and Pilgrim Street gangs.

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