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ICE Arrests 1378 in Six-Week, Anti-Gang Operation
13 May 2017, 01:06 | Stacy Allen
ICE acting director Thomas Homan speaks during a news conference in Washington Thursday
A six-week crackdown on gangs across the breadth of the United States has resulted in nearly 1,400 arrests, according to a statement released by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Thursday.
ICE said it was targeting gang members and "associates" involved in cross-border criminal activity - including drug and weapons smuggling, sex trafficking and murder. Of those 445, 280 were arrested on administrative immigration violations, meaning their only known crime was being in the country illegally.
The majority of the 933 arrested people were USA citizens and 445 were foreign nationals from 21 countries in South and Central America, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean. The operation comes amid a Trump administration effort to crack down on street gangs as part of a broader border security and illegal immigration enforcement effort.
Acting Director for ICE Thomas Homan in a Thursday announcement emphasized the role of local law enforcement in fighting gang activity and harped on the threat gangs posed to communities.
"Our efforts to dismantle gangs are much more effective in areas where partnership with local law enforcement is strongest", Homan said.
Federal officials released the names of only four of the people arrested in the operation, which the agency dubbed Project New Dawn.
The raids took place primarily in the Houston, New York, Atlanta, and Newark, N.J., areas, the agency said.
The majority, 1,095, of those arrested during the March 26-May 6 operation were confirmed gang members with many coming from the Bloods, the Crips, and MS-13. "We're focusing on gangs and organizations regardless of citizenship". Outside of this operation, many others have had their DACA revoked by USCIS for gang membership, but remain in the country.
Nationwide, the biggest gangs targeted were the Bloods, Sureños, the Crips and MS-13, an global gang with thousands of members in El Salvador, its command center. Twenty-nine of them allegedly belong to the MS-13 gang.
In addition, three of the suspects previously received deferred action under former President Obama's controversial Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Of the 17 arrests made in the D.C. region, 13 were MS-13 gang members while 16 MS-13 gang members were arrested in the Baltimore area.
SAN ANTONIO- A nationwide operation to put gang members behind bars has led to almost 1,400 arrests, including 76 in the San Antonio area.
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