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Transnational Gangs
07/23/2009

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

CHICAGO - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and local law enforcement officers made 19 arrests and lodged six detainers in a two-day operation targeting illegal aliens with ties to violent street gangs in the Chicago area. This is the latest joint local action of an ongoing national ICE effort to target foreign-born gang members.

These local arrests were made under an ongoing initiative of the National Gang Unit at ICE called Operation Community Shield. 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 the initiative, and they help further ensure officer safety during the operations.

The multi-agency operation, which ended July 20, targeted foreign-born gang members and associates in Chicago and various suburbs. Arrests were made in the following northern Illinois communities: Addison, Bensenville, Blue Island, Carpentersville, Chicago and Hanover Park. Of the 19 arrested, 17 are from Mexico, one is from Guatemala and one is from El Salvador. One of those arrested is a U.S. permanent resident from Mexico whose criminal convictions make him eligible for deportation; all others are illegal aliens. All 19 are currently in ICE custody pending removal from the United States.

ICE also placed detainers on six targeted gang members who were located this week in Cook County Jail, DuPage County Jail and Kane County Jail. All are illegal aliens from Mexico facing criminal charges; they will be turned over to ICE for deportation once the local charges are resolved.

Those arrested or encountered in local jails are members of the following gangs: Latin Kings, Sureños-13, MS-13 and Spanish Gangster Disciples.

During the operation, ICE agents also assisted the Bensenville Police Department with seizing marijuana plants discovered growing at a gang member's residence.

All 25 gang members and associates arrested or encountered in local jails have criminal histories. Some of their convictions and arrests include: unlawfully using a weapon, criminal sexual abuse, aggravated battery, aggravated discharge of a firearm, drug possession, theft, and mob action.

"By partnering with local law enforcement, ICE is making great strides in combating gang activity in our communities," said James Gibbons, acting special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Chicago. "ICE aggressively targets illegal alien gang members who instill fear in our neighborhoods through intimidation and violence."

ICE was assisted in the operation by the police departments of the following Illinois cities: Addison, Bensenville, Blue Island, Carpentersville, Glendale Heights and Hanover Park.

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.