DALLAS - Assisted by local law enforcement agencies, 67 men and women were arrested during a five-day operation targeting foreign-born gang members and their associates throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex by local agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
The following law enforcement agencies also participated in the operation: Dallas Police Department, Fort Worth Police Department, Arlington Police Department, Carrollton Police Department, Irving Police Department, Farmers Branch Police Department, and the Texas Department of Public Safety. ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) is coordinating the detention and deportation of the aliens being returned to their home countries.
"Our significant gang arrest numbers are in large part due to our exceptional partnerships with the law enforcement agencies throughout the DFW Metroplex," said Alysa D. Erichs, special agent in charge of the ICE HSI office in Dallas. "Gangs are responsible for a significant amount of crime locally and throughout the country. These joint law enforcement operations help reduce this criminal threat to the public." Erichs oversees 128 counties in north Texas and the state of Oklahoma.
This is the latest local effort in an ongoing national ICE-HSI initiative to target foreign-born gang members and gang associates.
This multi-agency operation, which ended June 11, targeted gang members and associates engaged in organized criminal activity. Forty seven of those arrested during this operation are documented gang members; seven are gang associates from local street gangs.
Fifty eight were arrested on criminal warrants or charges; nine were administratively arrested by ICE on immigration violations. Following is the breakdown by city where the arrests took place: Arlington - 17, Fort Worth - 17, Carrollton - 13, Dallas - 12, Irving - 4, Desoto - 1, Farmers Branch - 1, Lewisville - 1 and Mesquite - 1.
Of those arrested, 47 are U.S. citizens, 15 are from Mexico, two are from El Salvador, and two are from Honduras, one is from Cuba. They range in age from 17 to 54 years old; two of those arrested were women.
In addition to the arrests, the following items were also seized: five firearms, $23,000 in cash, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine.
Those in ICE custody are charged with administrative immigration violations and are awaiting deportation. Two of those arrested had been previously deported. Anyone who re-enters the United States after having been formally deported commits a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Some of these gang members are sought or have been arrested for various crimes, including: various drug charges, weapons violations and burglary.
Those arrested during this five-day multi-agency operation represent the following 18 gangs: 18th Street, Aryan Brotherhood, Crips, East Side Latin Kings, Havana Boys, How High Krew, La Familia, Love Field Tango, Mexican Klan Locos, MS-13, Raza Unida, Southside, Surenos, Sur-13, Tango Blast, Barrio Northside, Webb Chapel Crips and West Side Six.
Information received by ICE HSI and other law enforcement indicates that criminal gangs are becoming increasingly involved in north Texas with smuggling and distributing narcotics, laundering illicit drug proceeds, and other illegal activities.
The arrests were made as part of Operation Community Shield, a national initiative whereby ICE partners with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to target the significant public safety threat posed by transnational criminal street gangs. Since Operation Community Shield began in February 2005, ICE agents nationwide have arrested more than 22,000 gang members and associates linked to more than 1,200 different street gangs. More than 250 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 seized activities.