CHICAGO — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, in close partnership with local law enforcement officers, made 28 arrests during a three-day operation targeting illegal aliens with ties to violent street gangs in the Chicagoland area. This is the latest local effort in an ongoing national ICE initiative to target foreign-born gang members.
The arrests were made as part of Operation Community Shield, a national initiative whereby 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 success of Operation Community Shield.
The multi-agency operation, which ended April 27, targeted foreign-born gang members and associates. All 28 men arrested are documented members of the following gangs: Latin Kings, Maniac Latin Disciples, Sureño 13s, Insane Deuces, Norteño 14s, Spanish Cobras, Latin Counts, Spanish Gangster Disciples, Latin Eagles and OMC Street Crew.
Of the 28 gang members arrested, 26 have prior criminal histories. Some of their arrests and convictions include: robbery, aggravated battery/weapon, aggravated battery/great bodily harm, aggravated battery on a government official, residential burglary, mob action, domestic battery, and unlawfully using a weapon with a silencer. Of those arrested, 25 were from Mexico, one from Honduras and one from El Salvador.
One U.S. citizen with an outstanding warrant was also arrested; Carlos Gonzalez, 18, of Elgin, was arrested April 25 and turned over to local authorities on an outstanding state warrant for drug possession.
One of those arrested was Abraham Monroy-Perez, a Mexican national who was previously deported in 2005. ICE agents arrested Monroy-Perez, 27, of Elgin, on April 25. He was charged in U.S. District Court in Chicago on Thursday for illegally re-entering the U.S. after being formally deported, which is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Also turned over to local authorities was Oscar Anicua, a Mexican national and Latin Kings gang member with three outstanding warrants in DuPage County and Kane County. Anicua will be returned to ICE for deportation once the local charges against him are completed.
Arrests were made in the following communities: Aurora, Chicago, Elgin, Mount Prospect, Prospect Heights, West Chicago, Wheeling and Wood Dale.
The 25 currently in ICE custody are charged with administrative immigration violations and are pending removal from the United States. ICE does not release the names of those arrested on administrative immigration charges.
"Street gangs are responsible for committing a significant amount of crime in our neighborhoods and communities, " said Gary Hartwig, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Chicago. "ICE works closely with our local law enforcement partners to identify, locate and arrest these gang members in the name of public safety. Ultimately, we remove those who are deportable from the United States."
ICE was assisted in the operation by the police departments of Aurora, Elgin, West Chicago, Wheeling and Prospect Heights. Since Operation Community Shield began in February 2005, ICE agents nationwide have arrested more than 16,700 gang members and associates linked to more than 900 different gangs. More than 200 of those arrested were gang leaders.
The National Gang Unit at ICE 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.