The multi-agency June 20 operation targeted foreign-born gang members in Greeley and other Weld County areas. Five were arrested on administrative immigration violations and are currently in ICE custody pending removal from the United States. Four additional gang members were located in the Weld County jail, where they were previously charged with state crimes. After the criminal cases are complete and any resulting sentences served, they will be turned over to ICE for deportation. All those arrested or located are members of the Sureño 13 street gang.
All nine gang members have criminal histories, including convictions for: assault, burglary, larceny, possessing illegal drugs, illegally possessing firearms, engaging in a riot with a weapon, harassment, violating a protection order, criminal mischief, and felony menacing.
Three of the nine gang members are lawful permanent residents ("green card" holders) of the United States. Past criminal convictions, however, will likely cause them to lose that legal status and face deportation. A federal immigration judge will make the final determination in each case.
"Street gangs pose a growing public safety threat nationally and to communities throughout this area," said Jeff Copp, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Denver. "Our ICE agents develop close partnerships with local law enforcement agencies to combine our resources and law enforcement authorities. Our joint operations remove transnational gang members from the streets, and ultimately ICE deports them to their countries of origin."
Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck thanked ICE and the Greeley Police Department for collaborating and making Greeley a safer place to live.
ICE was assisted in the operation by the following Colorado law enforcement agencies: Greeley Police Department (GPD); Weld County District Attorney's Office; Evans Police Department, Colorado State Patrol; Weld County Sheriff's Office; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); the FBI; and the U.S Department of State.
Since ICE began Operation Community Shield in February 2005, more than 13,000 gang members belonging to more than 900 different gangs have been arrested nationwide. More information on ICE's National Gang Unit is available at: www.ice.gov.
The public is encouraged to report suspicious activity by calling ICE's toll-free hotline at: 1-866-347-2423. This hotline is staffed around the clock.