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Transnational Gangs
06/18/2010

26 arrested in Chicago area during ICE operation targeting gang members

CHICAGO - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, in close partnership with local law enforcement officers, made 26 arrests during a three-day operation this week targeting illegal aliens with ties to violent street gangs. This is the latest local effort in an ongoing national ICE initiative to target foreign-born gang members.

The 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 began June 14 and targeted foreign-born gang members and gang associates. Of the 26 arrested, 22 are documented members of the following gangs: Latin Kings, Sureño 13s, and Imperial Gangsters.

One Latin King gang member, 38-year-old Rudolfo Lira, was arrested by Palatine police with the assistance of ICE special agents. Lira has an outstanding warrant out of Cook County. He will be turned over to ICE for deportation once the criminal proceedings against him are completed. The remaining 21 gang members, all Mexican nationals, face administrative immigration charges and are pending removal.

In addition to the gang members arrested, ICE agents assisted the Palatine police in the criminal arrest of a U.S. citizen. Norma Parada-Lopez, 22, of Palatine, was arrested June 14 for battery and resisting a peace officer, which occurred while ICE agents were arresting another target.

During the operation, ICE agents arrested three illegal aliens from Mexico who are not gang members. ICE does not release the names of those arrested on administrative immigration violations.

Arrests were made in the following communities: Chicago, Elgin, Hanover Park, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, Streamwood and Wheeling.

"Street gangs are responsible for committing a significant amount of crime in our neighborhoods and communities," said Gary Hartwig, ICE special agent in charge in Chicago. "ICE works closely with our local law enforcement partners to identify, locate and arrest these gang members in the name of public safety. Ultimately, we remove those who are deportable from the United States."

ICE was assisted in the operation by the police departments of the following cities: Palatine, Rolling Meadows, Mount Prospect, Streamwood, Hanover Park and Elgin.

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 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 activities.

Through Operation Community Shield, the federal government uses its powerful immigration and customs authorities in a coordinated, national campaign against criminal street gangs in the United States. Transnational street gangs have significant numbers of foreign-born members and are frequently involved in human and contraband smuggling, immigration violations and other crimes with a connection to the border.

For more information, visit www.ice.gov.