Homeland Security Reports Gang Arrests
Great news via Associated Press on fighting the increase of gang crime
WASHINGTON - Some 375 gang members have been arrested in 24 states and the District of Columbia over the past two weeks as part of a yearlong operation targeting gangs with criminal immigrant members, the
Homeland Security Department said Friday.
The arrests bring to 2,388 the number of gang members apprehended through Operation Community Shield, which combines local law enforcement with federal immigration forces. Of those arrested, 922 were members of Mara Salvatrucha gangs, which have ties to Central America.
I'm glad to hear Homeland Security is getting involved, and treating this with the seriousness it deserves. Also good to see law enforcement working together and connecting the dots between immigration enforcement and criminal activity.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said that previously local law enforcement might arrest gang members and not be aware they also had immigration violations that could be used "to incapacitate violent criminals." Meanwhile, immigration officials would arrest gang members and not know they were wanted for serious criminal offenses.
"In much the way we have connected the dots against the war on terror, we are now connecting the dots against gang violence," Chertoff said.
Chertoff said none of the gang members was identified as having ties to al-Qaeda, but more than 260 of those arrested in the last two weeks have committed crimes like rape, murder and assault and brought drugs and weapons into neighborhoods. Of those arrested during the past year, 533 were charged with crimes and 1,855 with immigration violations.
Those in the country illegally will be deported after serving any sentences, officials said.