LOVELAND, Colo. - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Loveland Police Department arrested 11 men during a five-day operation targeting individuals with ties to violent criminal street gangs. This is the latest local effort in an ongoing national ICE initiative to target foreign-born gang members and gang associates.
The multi-agency operation, which ended April 30, targeted gang members and associates engaged in organized criminal activity. Those arrested during this operation are known gang members or associates from the Sureños or Bloods criminal street gangs. Of those arrested, seven are from Mexico, and four are U.S. citizens. The U.S. citizens arrested had outstanding criminal warrants and were booked into the Larimer County Jail. The others are in ICE custody and are charged with administrative immigration violations, and awaiting deportation. All those arrested during this operation have prior criminal histories including: cruelty toward a child, domestic violence, theft, distributing/possessing controlled substances, assault, residential burglary, forgery, and possessing forged documents.
"Street gangs commit a significant amount of crime in our neighborhoods and communities," said Kumar C. Kibble, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Denver. "ICE and the Loveland Police Department have a common goal of combating crime and reducing the public safety threat. Deporting criminal transnational gang members contributes to those important goals." Kibble oversees a four-state area which includes: Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming.
One of those arrested during this operation that ICE agents turned over to Loveland Police Department was a 34-year-old man from Mexico who had two outstanding arrest warrants for domestic violence. He'll face local charges before being returned to ICE custody for removal proceedings. He also has previous arrests for disorderly conduct, driving on a suspended/revoked license, assault, domestic violence, harassment, failure to appear, and contempt of court for failing to comply.
Loveland Police Chief Luke Hecker said, "We are very thankful for the joint effort between our agency and ICE. This was a successful operation clearly demonstrating our resolve in reducing the number of gang members in our community."
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. Operation Community Shield has produced 16,700 arrests of suspected gang members nationwide since 2005, with 200 of those classified as gang leaders. ICE uses its immigration law enforcement authorities (both criminal and administrative) against gang members, as well as its customs authorities in targeting gang-related narcotics smuggling, gun smuggling, money laundering, and in seeking the forfeiture of illegally derived assets.
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.