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Transnational Gangs
06/30/2009

ICE arrests 81 transnational gang members and associates in DFW area

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DALLAS - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and other law enforcement officers arrested 81 transnational gang members, their associates and immigration status violators in a six-day operation throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex that ended Saturday night. This is the latest joint local action of an ongoing national ICE effort to target foreign-born violent gang members. More than half of those arrested had outstanding local, state or federal warrants issued on them.

The arrests were made under an ongoing national initiative of ICE's National Gang Unit called Operation Community Shield. As part of this 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 initiative's success, and they help further ensure officer safety during the operations.

"Street gangs are responsible for a significant amount of crime nationally and locally," said John Chakwin Jr., special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Dallas. "ICE works closely with our local law enforcement partners to identify, locate and arrest these gang members. Ultimately, we remove from the United States those who are deportable."

The operation targeted foreign-born gang members and associates in the following north Texas cities: Arlington, Dallas, Carrollton, Fort Worth, Irving, Lewisville, and Plano. Those foreign-born who were arrested are from the following countries: Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and Laos.

Gang members arrested were part of the following street gangs: 15th Street, Southside, 18th Street, Crips, 28th Street, 68th Street (Nuevo Laredo, Mexico), Aryan Brotherhood, Butter Bean Boys, East Side Homeboys, Easy Riders (Los Angeles), Five Deuce Crip, How High Crew, MS-13, Northside Locos, Laotian Oriental Killer Boyz, Mexican Clan Locos, Norteno, Sureno, Tango Blast, True Bud Smokers, Trueman Street Blood, Varrio Diamond Hill, Varrio Northside, and Zetas.
Specifics of those arrested include:

  • 52 are active members of gangs;
  • 14 are gang associates;
  • 44 of those arrested were already wanted on local, state or federal warrants, or were arrested for criminal activity. ICE has placed detainers on 13 of those arrested with the local police departments;
  • 28 were U.S. citizens who were wanted on warrants, or who were arrested by local law enforcement for criminal violations;
  • 37 were arrested administratively on immigration violations;
  • two individuals had previously been deported; their cases may be presented to the U.S. Attorney's Office for prosecution for "Reentry After Deportation," which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison;
  • 15 of those arrested were not gang members or associates; they were arrested on outstanding warrants or immigration violations;
  • 79 men and two women were arrested.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) participated in this operation, and officers from the following north Texas police departments: Arlington, Carrollton, Dallas, Fort Worth, Irving, Lewisville and Plano.

Many who were arrested had previous criminal conviction histories that include aggravated assault with a deadly weapon against a peace officer, discharging a weapon against a police officer, unlawfully possessing a firearm by an alien/felon, engaging in organized criminal activity, burglary of a vehicle, and robbery.

Since ICE began Operation Community Shield in February 2005, more than 13,000 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.