Transnational criminal street gangs such as MS-13 represent a significant threat to public safety in communities throughout the United States. Gangs strike fear into our local neighborhoods, commit violent crimes against our citizens and facilitate criminal activity such as narcotics and firearms trafficking, sex trafficking, human smuggling and trafficking, and corruption.
To combat this threat, HSI conducts multi-jurisdictional and international investigations that target gang leadership, members and associates in the United States and abroad. HSI works closely with the Department of Justice to prosecute gang members and enterprises, often pursuing Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act, Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering (VICAR) and criminal conspiracy charges to disrupt and dismantle gang operations and organizations. HSI leverages its unique administrative immigration authorities to take gang members off our streets, and partners with ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) to facilitate the removal of aliens associated with gangs or wanted for gang related crimes in their home countries.
Since 2005 – pursuant to an international initiative called Operation Community Shield – HSI has been working with federal, state, local and international law enforcement partners to identify violent street gangs and to arrest, prosecute, imprison and/or deport transnational gang members. These efforts help suppress violence on our streets and help keep our communities secure. Since 2005, HSI and its partners have made more than 70,000 gang-related criminal and administrative immigration arrests.