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Transnational Gangs
08/01/2012

14 arrested in Milwaukee during ICE operation targeting gang members

MILWAUKEE — Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) – in close partnership with the Wisconsin police departments of Milwaukee, Greendale and Greenfield – arrested 14 men during an enforcement operation Monday. This is the latest local effort in an ongoing national HSI initiative to target foreign-born gang members.

The operation was conducted July 30 in Milwaukee and resulted in the arrests of 13 Mexican nationals and one national of the Dominican Republic, all male.

The Mexican nationals arrested are proven members or associates of the "Mexican Posse" street gang. They are currently in ICE custody pending deportation proceedings. One gang member also faces possible federal prosecution as an illegal alien possession of a firearm.

Also arrested was a previously deported alien from the Dominican Republic. He has been charged in federal court with illegally re-entering the United States after having been deported, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

All 14 of those arrested have criminal histories that include arrests and convictions for a wide range of crimes committed in the United States. Some of their convictions include narcotics trafficking, criminal damage to property and theft.

"Violent street gangs account for a burgeoning amount of crime in our communities in the Midwest and across the country," said Gary Hartwig, special agent in charge of HSI Chicago. "ICE works in tandem with our local law enforcement partners to identify these gang members and remove them from the streets in the name of public safety."

This investigation was part of HSI's Operation Community Shield initiative. Under Operation Community Shield, HSI partners with existing federal, state and local anti-gang efforts to identify violent street gangs and develop intelligence on gang members and associates, gang criminal activities, and international movements to arrest, prosecute, imprison and/or deport transnational gang members. HSI's National Gang Unit's goal is to deter, disrupt and dismantle gang operations by tracing and seizing cash, weapons and other assets derived from criminal activities.

Since inception in 2005 to date, HSI special agents working in conjunction with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies nationwide have arrested more than 26,726 street gang members and associates. Almost 40 percent of those arrested had a violent criminal history. More than 340 of those arrested were gang leaders and more than 4,000 were MS-13 gang members or associates. Through this initiative nationally, HSI has seized 3,429 firearms. To date, of those arrested, more than 14,200 have been charged criminally, and nearly 12,500 have been charged with immigration violations and processed for removal.