Fifteen individuals were arrested and nine were cited for court appearances as a result of this effort. Of those arrested, nine face state criminal charges and six face immigration administrative charges. The criminal charges range between violent assault offenses which include stabbing incidents to narcotics violations. ICE agents also seized marijuana and cocaine.
Those arrested, which included U.S. citizens, were from various countries to include Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Some were gang members or associates of the Surenos, Bloods, M Zone Rydas and Sugar Loaf Clique 31.
The arrests occurred at various locations to include Oriental Pavilion, a nightclub known as a gang hangout, which was operating illegally.
The ALE arrested four individuals and cited nine who will have to appear in court. The HCSO arrested two individuals and the HPD arrested three. The remaining six individuals charged administratively are in ICE custody.
"Operations such as these speak to the outstanding law enforcement partnerships here in North Carolina," said Delbert Richburg, ICE assistant special agent in charge overseeing North Carolina. "I commend all participating agencies for their dedication to working with ICE in an effort to protect our law abiding citizens."
Henderson County Sheriff Davis said, "The location where most of the suspects were arrested was a well-known haven for active gang members. Gang recruiting and criminal activity for the entire region was in full view for anyone who attended this Asheville club. This joint operation with ICE, Buncombe and Henderson County Sheriffs' Offices is precisely what this area needs to break up and halt gang activity."
The North Carolina State Probation and the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles played a critical law enforcement role in this targeted operation.
ICE's 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.
Operation Community Shield partners with existing federal, state and local anti-gang efforts to share intelligence on gang organizations and their leadership, share resources and combine legal authorities to arrest, prosecute, imprison and/or deport transnational gang members.
Since inception in 2005 to date, ICE agents working in conjunction with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies nationwide have arrested more than 16,700 street gang members and associates linked to 900 different gangs. Of those arrested, 206 were gang leaders; 196 have been charged criminally, and 9,546 have been charged with immigration violations and processed for removal. Through this initiative, ICE has also seized 1,060 firearms.
To report suspicious activity, call ICE's 24-hour toll-free hotline at: 1-866-347-2423 or visit www.ice.gov.