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Transnational Gangs

ICE and Greeley, Colo., Gang Task Force target "Sureno 13" gang member

GREELEY, Colo. - A member of the violent street gang Sureno 13 was arrested here Saturday by Greeley Gang Task Force officers, with assistance from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents.

Renato Rodarte-Bueno, 33, from Mexico, was arrested at a Greeley, Colo., apartment about 9 p.m., on Feb. 2, on state criminal charges of child abuse/neglect and possessing marijuana. He was allegedly smoking marijuana while watching his 3-year-old child.

ICE also placed a detainer on Rodarte-Bueno on federal immigration administrative charges, and criminal charges for reentering the United States after having been previously deported. Rodarte-Bueno remains in state custody.

ICE agents originally targeted Rodarte-Bueno for arrest after they discovered that he had returned to the Greeley, Colo., area after his deportation in 1997. Reentry into the United States after being formally deported is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Rodarte-Bueno is an identified active Sureno 13 gang member. He has felony convictions for robbery and theft in the Santa Barbara County, Calif., Superior Court in 1993 and 1994. He was sentenced to seven years in a California prison. Before his convictions and deportation, he was a U.S. permanent resident.

The Greeley Gang Task Force learned that Rodarte-Bueno was returning to the area on the El Paso-Los Angeles Limousine Bus Line on the night of Feb. 1. He had taken an extended trip to Los Angeles, Calif., and didn't resurface in Greeley until the afternoon of Feb. 2.

The U.S. Attorney's Office District of Colorado has accepted federal prosecution of Rodarte-Bueno for "reentry after deportation."

"Gang members represent a significant threat to public safety throughout the United States," said Jeffrey Copp, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Denver. "ICE closely partners with local law enforcement agencies to especially target transnational gang members, and ultimately deport them to their countries of origin." Copp oversees a four-state area that includes: Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming.
"Good cooperation between law enforcement agencies leads to good arrests," said Jerry Garner, Chief of Greeley, Colo., Police Department. "I think that happened in this case and we much appreciate the help from ICE."

This arrest occurred as part of Operation Community Shield, a nationwide ICE anti-gang initiative with the aim to disrupt, dismantle and assist in the criminal prosecution of violent transnational street gangs by employing the full range of authorities available to ICE.

Initially, ICE's anti-gang efforts were directed toward the "Mara Salvatrucha" organization, commonly referred to as MS-13, one of the most violent and rapidly growing transnational street gangs. In May 2005, ICE expanded Operation Community Shield to include all transnational criminal street gangs and prison gangs.

Since inception, ICE agents across 100 field offices, working in conjunction with hundreds of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies nationwide, have arrested a total of 7,174 street gang members and associates, representing over 736 different gangs.

These apprehensions include 2,681 criminal arrests and 5,493 administrative immigration arrests. One hundred-sixteen of those arrested were gang leaders. More than 2,663 of the arrested suspects had violent criminal histories. Through this initiative, ICE has also seized and removed from the streets 310 firearms.

ICE uses its broad immigration authorities (both criminal and administrative) against gang members, as well as its customs authorities in targeting gang-related narcotics smuggling, gun smuggling, money laundering, and in seeking the forfeiture of illegally derived assets.

Operation Community Shield involves strong partnerships and cooperation with existing federal, state and local anti-gang efforts. ICE uses intelligence on gang organizations and leadership provided by state and local authorities. This information is used whenever possible to arrest, prosecute, and/or deport individual gang members.

To report suspicious activity, members of the public should call the ICE at 1-866-DHS-2ICE.