U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials report a recent gang enforcement operation called “Project New Dawn,” led to 1,378 arrests of which 1,095 were gang members or associates.
ICE officers and agents seized more than 238 firearms in addition to almost $500,000 in currency and more than 271 kilograms (595.5 pounds) of illegal narcotics.
The SURGE (Specialized Urban Response – Gang Enforcement) operation conducted from March 26 to May 6 set out to “identify and investigate the membership of and criminal activities committed by transnational criminal street gangs throughout the United States,” a report released on Wednesday to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary from ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) stated.
Officials tweeted about the operation, calling it the “largest gang surge to date.”
(A)EAD Benner: “ICE HSI’s most recent SURGE operation, Project New Dawn, the largest gang surge to date, resulted in 1,378 arrests” pic.twitter.com/BLfC1KTACt
— ICE (@ICEgov) June 21, 2017
HSI’s Acting Executive Associate Director Derek N. Benner and ERO’s Executive Associate Director Matthew Albence released a 9-page report detailing that 445 of those arrested were foreign nationals from 21 different countries – Central America, Asia, Europe and the Caribbean.
Breitbart Texas reported that an official with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) told the House Homeland Security Committee Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence on Tuesday morning that “MS-13 is not the largest street gang in the United States; it is increasingly the most violent and well-organized.” He added, the gang had a “propensity for gruesome violence.” The leadership of the notorious gang is based in the Central American countries of El Salvador and Honduras.
Of those arrested during the SURGE operation, 762 were gang members, and 333 were associates of gang members. The majority of those arrested were affiliated with the MS-13 gang (104), Sureños (118), Bloods (137), and Crips (104).
Although arrests occurred throughout the United States, most of the arrests came from: Houston, Newark, Atlanta, and the New York City areas.
As reported by Breitbart Texas, the rise of MS-13 gang violence has dramatically impacted crime in the nation’s fourth-largest city, Houston. Breitbart Texas reported that the State of Texas considers the gang to be a Tier 1-level threat – the “most significant” threat level.
In April, Governor Greg Abbott announced the creation of a Texas Anti-Gang Task Force to target these criminal alien gang members. Houston is one of the five cities that the FBI has previously identified to have a large MS-13 presence.