US Immigration Enforcement Agency Arrests 1378 in Largest Anti-Gang Operation

The operation was highly successful, leading to 1,378 total arrests, including 445 non-citizen foreign nationals.

The six-week operation, directed in coordination with local law enforcement partners, was the largest gang surge ever conducted, ICE said in a press release. Those arrested were operating out of a house that was being used for alleged sex trafficking. A search of the house where Vasquez was arrested turned up cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine, four handguns and over $48,000 in cash, officials said.

But not all were accused of being gang members. Clayton County subsequently released him, but an ICE deportation officer who reviewed the record was able to determine the man arrested under a fictitious name was in fact Mr. Diaz and subject to an active warrant out of Cook County for aggravated sexual abuse.

The agency says 1,098 suspected gang members were arrested on a variety of federal and state criminal charges, while 280 others face administrative immigration charges. Half were federal offenses.

While the operation took place across the country, a majority of the activity was in the Houston, New York, Atlanta, and Newark areas. "We are not done". Of them, 112 are gang affiliates, meaning that ICE had verifiable information that the person was associated with a gang. The rest of the 283 did not have any gang ties. Of those, eight were members of MS-13, the notoriously violent gang whose members include a large number of Central American illegal aliens. "We're focusing on gangs and organizations regardless of citizenship". Twenty-nine of them allegedly belong to the MS-13 gang.

It netted a total of 1,378 arrested from March 26 to May 6 and brought in not only members of MS-13, but also members of the Bloods, Crips and Sureños gangs.

The agency also said three people arrested were in the past protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama-era program created to allow those brought into the United States as children to remain in the country.

Criminal violations or being deemed a public safety threat can void a person's DACA status, ICE noted.

He said that focus was one of the "highest priorities and will remain so" for ICE.

  • Bernice Underwood