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Transnational Gangs
07/19/2010

31 arrested in San Diego-area ICE-led anti-gang crackdown

SAN DIEGO -U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) announced on July 19 the arrest of 31 men following a multi-agency enforcement operation targeting transnational gang members in the San Diego area.

The week-long operation, which concluded on July 16, is the latest local effort as part of Operation Community Shield, an ongoing ICE HSI initiative to target, investigate and arrest gang members and gang associates operating in our local communities.

Of the 31 individuals taken into custody during the operation, 22 are members or associates of street gangs based in the San Diego, Vista, Escondido and San Marcos. Ten of those individuals are being prosecuted on federal or state criminal charges. The remaining 12 have been charged with administrative immigration violations and are being processed for removal from the United States.

In the course of conducting the operation, authorities also encountered and took custody of nine individuals, who were not documented gang members, but are suspected of criminal charges or administrative immigration violations.

In all, 12 of the 31 persons arrested during the enforcement action are being criminally prosecuted. The charges range from drug offenses and violation of a gang injunction to obstructing law enforcement and illegally reentering the United States after deportation. Four of those arrested are U.S. citizens. The remainder are foreign nationals from five countries, including Mexico, Iraqi, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Among the five suspects charged with re-entry after deportation, two are known gang members from the "South Los" street gang in North County and the "Shelltown 38th Street" in San Diego. Both have violent criminal histories that include possession of a controlled substance, unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor and possession of a concealed weapon.

"Street gangs pose a growing public safety threat to San Diego-area communities," said Mike Carney, acting special agent in charge for ICE HSI in San Diego. "By working closely with our local law enforcement partners and taking deportable gang members off of the street, we are disrupting the gangs' operations and the accompanying scourge of crime and violence."

As part of Operation Community Shield, ICE partners with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to target the significant public safety threat posed by transnational criminal street gangs. Since the initiative began in February 2005, ICE agents nationwide have arrested more than 18,000 gang members and associates linked to more than 900 different gangs.

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.

For more information, visit www.ice.gov.