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Transnational Gangs
07/19/2010

105 arrested in Dallas-Fort Worth area during ICE-led anti-gang operation

DALLAS - Assisted by local law enforcement agencies, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) National Gang Unit arrested 105 men and women during a five-day operation targeting foreign-born gang members and their associates throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

The following law enforcement agencies also participated in the operation: Dallas Police Department, Fort Worth Police Department, Arlington Police Department, Carrollton Police Department, Irving Police Department, Farmers Branch Police Department, Dallas County Sheriff's Office, Dallas County District Attorney's Office and the Texas Department of Public Safety. The ICE Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) is coordinating the detention and deportation of the aliens being returned to their home countries.

"Our ICE-HSI special agents routinely partner with local law enforcement agencies to target transnational gang members," said John Chakwin Jr., special agent in charge of the ICE-HSI office in Dallas. "Gangs are responsible for a significant amount of crime throughout the Metroplex and the country. These joint law enforcement operations help reduce this criminal threat to the public." Chakwin oversees 128 counties in north Texas and the State of Oklahoma.

This is the latest local effort in an ongoing national ICE-HSI initiative to target foreign-born gang members and gang associates.

This multi-agency operation, which ended July 17, targeted gang members and associates engaged in organized criminal activity. Sixty seven of those arrested during this operation are documented gang members; five are gang associates from local street gangs. Five additional suspects were apprehended on other criminal and federal immigration charges. Investigation is continuing to determine the gang affiliation of the others and their rank in the gang structure.

Seventy-two were arrested on criminal warrants or charges; 33 were administratively arrested by ICE on immigration violations. Following is the breakdown by city where the arrests took place: Dallas - 57, Fort Worth - 19, Arlington - 17, Carrollton - 5, Irving - 4, Farmers Branch - 2, and Lake Worth, 1.

Of those arrested, 57 are from Mexico, 42 are U.S. citizens, four are from El Salvador, and two are from Honduras. They range in age from 17 to 53 years old; six of those arrested were women.

In addition to the arrests, the following items were also seized: two firearms, U.S. currency, marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and hydrocodone.

Those in ICE custody are charged with administrative immigration violations and are awaiting deportation. Three of those arrested had been previously deported. Anyone who re-enters the United States after having been formally deported commits a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Some of these gang members are sought or have been arrested for various crimes, including: home invasion robberies, drive-by shootings, aggravated robbery, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, possession/manufacture of controlled substance, unlawfully carrying a weapon, burglary, theft, evading arrest, and resisting arrest.

Those arrested during this five-day multi-agency operation represent the following 29 gangs: 15th Street, 18th Street, 6417 Melody Lane, Allen St. Crips, Brown Pride, Best for Less Club, Deuce Deuce Beckley, Eastside Homeboyz, Fantasmas, How High Crew, Jokers Only, La Mirada Locos, Lands of Shadow, Latin Kings, Los Pipis 25 in Mexico, Lynch Mob, Mexican Klan Locos, Mexican Society, Money Over Bitches, MS-13, Surenos, Sur-13, Swirving Heights, Tango Blast, Untamed Gorillas, Varrio Centro, Varrio Northside, Varrio Southside, and Webb Chapel Crips.

Information received by ICE-HSI and other law enforcement indicates that criminal gangs are becoming increasingly involved in north Texas with smuggling and distributing narcotics, laundering illicit drug proceeds, and other illegal activities.

The arrests were made as part of Operation Community Shield, a national initiative whereby ICE partners with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to target the significant public safety threat posed by transnational criminal street gangs. Since Operation Community Shield began in February 2005, ICE agents nationwide have arrested more than 17,500 gang members and associates linked to more than 900 different street gangs. More than 200 of those arrested were gang leaders.

The National Gang Unit at ICE identifies violent street gangs and develops intelligence on their membership, associates, criminal activities and international movements to deter, disrupt and dismantle gang operations by tracing and seizing cash, weapons and other assets derived from criminal seized activities.