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Transnational Gangs
12/11/2008

6 arrested in Sturgis during ICE-led operation targeting gang members

Members of the Surenos 13 and Southside 18 apprehended

STURGIS, Mich. - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, in close partnership with local law enforcement officers, arrested six illegal alien gang members from Mexico. One of the individuals arrested provided fraudulent documents to the gang members. This is the latest joint local action of an ongoing national ICE effort to target foreign-born members of violent gang members.

"The arrest and ultimate removal of these gang members has an immediate positive impact on the safety of the communities in Western Michigan. We look forward to the opportunity to partner with local law enforcement to bring members of these violent gangs to justice," said Brian Moskowitz, special agent in charge for ICE's Office of Investigations in Detroit.

These arrests were made late Wednesday under ICE's Operation Community Shield, in which ICE partners with other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to address 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 operation targeted foreign-born members and associates of the Sureños 13 and Southside 18 street gangs. All six of the individuals were illegally present in the U.S. and will face deportation proceedings.

Two of the individuals, twin brothers Rene and Raul Maldonando-Gonzalez, will also be prosecuted on identity and document fraud charges. Another one of the individuals arrested was providing false documents to gang members and other illegal aliens in the area.

The remaining three aliens arrested face administrative immigration charges, and are currently in ICE custody pending their deportation. ICE does not release the names of those arrested on administrative immigration charges.

ICE was assisted in the operation by the officers from the Sturgis Police Department. "The Sturgis Police Department has always, and will continue to, cooperate fully with Federal, State or local Law Enforcement Agencies to ensure the safety of our community," said Sturgis Police Deputy Chief David Ives.

Since ICE began Operation Community Shield in February 2005, more than 11,400 gang members belonging to more than 700 different gangs have been arrested nationwide. More information on Operation Community Shield 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.