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Transnational Gangs
05/28/2010

Charlotte ICE gang operation yields 12 arrests

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents assigned to the Charlotte Gang Unit continue making arrests in North Carolina with its recent weekend effort yielding 12 arrests and the seizure of cocaine, marijuana and brass knuckles.

Among the 12 arrests last weekend were four gang members and affiliates: one Asian Boyz gang member, two MS-13 gang members and one MS-13 affiliate. All four are foreign-born nationals from Vietnam, Uruguay and Honduras. One is a naturalized U. S. citizen, one has lawful residency status and the other two are illegally present in the country. Two face state charges and two face immigration charges.

The additional eight individuals arrested face various charges ranging from immigration violations to drug and weapons charges. One individual arrested had an outstanding warrant issued by the state.

One is a U. S. citizen and the others are illegal aliens from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

"With each arrest we make, we're making an impact in our community," said Delbert Richburg, assistant special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in North Carolina. "Whether you're here legally or illegally, if you're breaking the law and terrorizing our community, we will use every law enforcement tool at our disposal to put you behind bars."

The arrests were made as part of an initiative by ICE's National Gang Unit dubbed Operation Community Shield. As part of the initiative, ICE partners with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies across the country to target the significant public safety threat posed by transnational street gangs. Partnerships with local law enforcement agencies are essential to the initiative's success and they help further ensure officer safety during the operations.

ICE's National Gang Unit 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.

Since ICE began Operation Community Shield in February 2005, more than 15,600 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 the ICE toll-free hotline at: 1-866-347-2423. This hotline is staffed around the clock.