Homeland Security arrests over 600 gang suspects

By ALICIA A. CALDWELL 4 hours ago

 WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 600 suspected gang members have been arrested in the Homeland Security Department’s largest crackdown on street gangs, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said Thursday.

ICE agents, along with local authorities in 179 cities, arrested 638 suspected gang members over a monthlong period in March and April.

ICE said 78 suspected gang members were arrested on federal charges while 447 others currently face only state charges. ICE arrested 113 others on administrative immigration charges.

More than 400 of those arrested had violent criminal histories, including seven people wanted on murder charges. ICE did not identify all those arrested or the charges they face.

“These are bad people with bad motives from bad organizations,” said Thomas Winkowski, the principal deputy assistant secretary for ICE.

Arrests were made across the country, including in Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Maryland and New Mexico.

The latest crackdown, dubbed “Project Southbound,” is part of a larger initiative started in 2005 to target street gangs with international ties. Since the effort, ICE says it has arrested more than 33,000 suspected gang members.

Winkowski said nearly three-quarters of the suspected gang members arrested in the latest operation belonged to the Surenos, or Sur 13, street gangs.

The Surenos, an umbrella group of street gangs with ties to Latin America that includes gangs such as the ultraviolent Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, originated in Southern California and has members across the country. Its members and affiliates are considered “foot soldiers” for the Mexican Mafia criminal organization, Winkowski said.

In its 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment, the Justice Department said 2014-05 Handout.Reuters USA-CRIME-GANGS The government said Sur 13 members are responsible for crimes that include murder, extortion and drug trafficking.

The crackdown also included several members of MS-13, the Salvadoran gang known for using machetes to hack and stab victims.

According to a 12-count racketeering indictment unsealed in March in federal court in Greenbelt, Maryland, nine of the gang’s members are accused of crimes including murder, extorting high school students, running brothels, witness tampering and obstructing justice. At least three MS-13 members charged in the indictment were already in jail during the latest gang roundup.

Last year the Obama administration levied financial sanctions against six leaders of the gang, which the U.S. government previously designated as an international criminal group.

MS-13 was founded more than two decades ago by immigrants fleeing El Salvador’s civil war. Its founders built a reputation as one of the most ruthless and sophisticated street gangs, as they took lessons from the brutal war to the streets of Los Angeles.

MS-13 also has a strong presence in Southern California, Washington and Northern Virginia, all areas with substantial Salvadoran populations, and as many 10,000 members in 46 states. The gang is also allied with several of Mexico’s warring drug cartels.

  1. Love Is Good 37 minutes ago
    The DOJ estimates that 1.4 million gang members operate in the United States in gangs such as MS-13, the Bloods, the Crips, Sur-13, Mexican Mafia, Latin Kings, Surenos, Kurdish Pride, and Mexican Posse.

    Among gang members are illegal aliens and those born in the United States of illegal alien parents. The United States is infested with these gangs, many of them interlocked and many international in scope.

    These illegal gang members are protected in Los Angeles and many other cities because of their Sanctuary Laws. Any immigration reform should include abolishing Sanctuary Laws.
    mom 2 hours ago
    My husband grew up in Los Angeles, he was only 10 years old when his best friend was killed in a drive by shooting. You can still see the bullet holes in the house he grew up in, where his Dad patched the holes and painted over them. My husband said it was awful growing up that way, that’s why he moved to the Midwest. He didn’t want his kids to grow up with that violence. I don’t know if they will ever fully be eliminated from society but I think 3 strikes and you’re out for violent individuals should include the death penalty. If they are tried and convicted of 3 violent acts, they aren’t learning from their mistakes
    Christian Hernandez 7 minutes ago
    Deport them all! Hey, I might be latino but these idiots give the the good guys like me a bad name. They come here and waste an education that is paid by taxpayers, open baby factories which we have to pay for, and sale their free government issued infant formula in the street, stupid kids grow up and try to intimidate the younger fellas. How do I know all this? Because I come from the same kind of neighborhood and I still reside in the same place since my childhood. I see them, I know them. They take up street parking with five broken down cars that the owner doesn’t even need because he doesn’t work. Theres another idiot who sits in his truck and tries to stare people down the whole day (literally that’s all he does since 5 AM that I leave for work till the afternoon when I come back). I read their for sale signs on the stoplight poles selling formula. I come from this kind of neighborhood and yet I graduate high school, got a job and began attending college, and on my way to the Navy to serve the best country on Earth. Why do I have to bust my #$%$ and they get a free ride? My tax dollars go to paying for these government handouts they don’t even deserve. I come from the same background as them and yet I try to better myself so why does this happen? Stupid parents I #$%$ume, then those kids grow up to be stupid parents as well and it becomes a never ending cycle. Minimum wage raise? Please! They should’ve thought about their income before they did stupid things and should have educated themselves. I work minimum wage and I don’t want them to raise it, why? Because inflation my salary goes up, prices go up. So its a useless move. You see they would know that if they weren’t so stupid to begin with. I say mandatory IQ tests for the illegals, if they score high we keep them and reward with residency so they may pursue a higher education and contribute to society if they score lower than their shoe size…throw them back over we don’t need them, we don’t want them. DEPORT, DEPORT, DEPORT!!!!
    Joseph 7 minutes ago
    Finally something is happening.Thats a plus .To bad its taken so long .Now look for the ACLU to try and spring them all back out on the streets in America to back in business.Deport everyone that is here illegally and kill them if they come back.Heres the mandate politicians get rid of them or yourselfs.Who let this go on for so long?.Millions of illegals what did you think was going on?.Obama is the only President in years to deport any of them.And he is weak in booting them out.Americans by the majority have repeatedly expressed their anger of this no action Government.Mcains said America just give up they will not leave.That turd should shut the hell up and get completely out of politics.Remember the Keating five?.He should be in Jail with Eric Holder sitting on his lap.

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