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Enforcement and Removal

10 arrested in ICE-led operation targeting gang members for deportation

INDIANAPOLIS - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and local law enforcement officers made 10 arrests during a two-day operation targeting illegal aliens with ties to violent street gangs in Indianapolis. This is the latest local effort in an ongoing national ICE initiative to target foreign-born gang members.

These arrests were made as part of Operation Community Shield, under ICE's National Gang Unit. As part of this national initiative, ICE partners with other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to target the significant public safety threat posed by transnational street gangs. Partnerships with local law enforcement agencies are essential to the success of Operation Community Shield.

The multi-agency operation, which ended July 16, targeted foreign-born gang members and associates. Eight of the ten males arrested are documented members of the following gangs: Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), Vatos Locos, La Venganza Comienza (The Vengeance Begins) and Sureños-13. All eight are in the United States illegally from the following countries: Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala. The men are currently in ICE custody on administrative immigration violations pending removal from the United States.

 Two of those arrested have no gang affiliation but were arrested on state charges during the course of the enforcement operation. One is a previously deported El Salvadoran national who was taken into custody for resisting arrest. The other, an illegal alien from Mexico, has an outstanding warrant for driving without a license. Both are in the custody of the Marion County Sheriff and will be turned over to ICE for deportation once the local charges are resolved.

The majority of the gang members in ICE custody have prior criminal histories. Some of their convictions and arrests include: battery, drunken driving, criminal trespass, residential entry, domestic battery, criminal recklessness and theft.

"Street gangs pose a growing public safety threat to communities in the Indianapolis area," said Daniel Dill, resident agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Indianapolis. "We will use all our law enforcement tools to thwart the criminal efforts of street gangs. Operation Community Shield shows how ICE works with our law enforcement partners to dismantle these criminal organizations and help protect our communities."

ICE was assisted in the operation by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Since ICE began Operation Community Shield in February 2005, more than 13,800 gang members belonging to more than 900 different gangs have been arrested nationwide. More information on the National Gang Unit at ICE is available at: www.ice.gov.

The public is encouraged to report suspicious activity by calling ICE's toll-free hotline at: 1-866-347-2423. This hotline is staffed around the clock.