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Transnational Gangs
05/25/2010

ICE works with local law enforcement to arrest 26 gang members in Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Twenty-six men with ties to the violent Sureno-13 and Vatos Locos gangs are facing deportation and criminal charges following a three-day enforcement operation involving U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and local law enforcement agencies.

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.

This operation was spearheaded by ICE's Office of Investigations in Memphis, who worked jointly with the Shelby County Sheriff's Office, the Memphis Police Department, Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, ICE's Deportation & Removal Operations office, ICE's Field Intelligence Group and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Of the 26 subjects encountered and detained in this operation, 24 have been administratively charged and have been placed into removal proceedings. Two individuals were identified as having been previously deported and have had their removal orders reinstated. Their cases will be presented to the U.S. attorney's office for prosecution for the felony offense of reentry. There was also one false claim to U.S. citizenship and that individual's case will also be presented to the U.S. attorney's office for prosecution.

"Street gangs account for a significant amount of crime nationally and locally," said Raymond R. Parmer, Jr., special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in New Orleans. "ICE works closely with our local law enforcement partners to identify, locate and arrest these gang members to thwart criminal activity in our communities."

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.