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Transnational Gangs

Gang suppression effort nets 23 arrests in New York

NEW YORK - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced Thursday the arrests of 23 suspected gang members and gang associates during a two-week suppression effort conducted throughout the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island and Queens.

Among those arrested during the enforcement operation which concluded Sept. 15 was an 18-year-old Trinitarios gang member in Brooklyn whose criminal history includes arrests for attempted murder, gang assault and weapons charges. Another was a 32-year-old "MS-13" gang member in Long Island whose criminal history includes arrests for assault on a child, larceny and weapons charges.

Other individuals taken into custody had criminal histories including arrests for rape, narcotics trafficking and distribution, robbery, and false impersonation. Others arrested during the operation were members of the Latin Kings, Wild Chicanos, Niños Malos, 18th Street and Jamaican Posse. Two loaded firearms were seized during the operation including a .357-caliber revolver and a .9mm semi-automatic handgun.

Agents and officers from the ICE Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and from the ICE Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) conducted the operation. Since May, the ICE Violent Gang Units have arrested a total of 170 suspected gang members and associates in New York City, Westchester County and Long Island.

"Transnational gangs operate as criminal organizations that prey on immigrants as well as citizens in our communities," said James T. Hayes Jr., special agent-in-charge of ICE HSI in New York. "Gang activity often includes a combination of criminal activities, including narcotics and weapons trafficking. ICE's unique authorities allow us to dismantle transnational gang networks through the enforcement of either criminal or administrative laws. So at the end of any potential jail time, these gang members will be promptly returned to their native countries."

"By partnering with HSI, we can identify, arrest and remove the criminal gang members from the streets who may be responsible for a significant portion of crime in the area," said Christopher Shanahan, field office director for ICE ERO in New York. "We will continue to combine our administrative and criminal authorities to address these threats."

All of the individuals arrested in the operation were foreign nationals. The majority of the foreign nationals were from El Salvador, but the group also includes citizens from Mexico and Jamaica. Those foreign nationals who are not being prosecuted on criminal charges are being processed for removal from the United States.

Since Operation Community Shield began in February 2005, ICE agents nationwide have arrested more than 18,000 gang members and gang associates. As part of the effort, HSI's National Gang Unit (NGU) identifies violent street gangs and develops intelligence on their membership, associates, criminal activities and international movements to deter, disrupt and dismantle gang operations. 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.

To report suspicious activity, call ICE's 24-hour toll-free hotline at: 1-866-347-2423 or visit www.ice.gov.

Operational photos can be downloaded at the following website: http://www.flickr.com/photos/53734286@N04/sets/72157624925909156/