ICE-led gang surge nets 1378 arrested nationwide

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement has conducted their largest anti-gang operation ever on Thursday, arresting more than 1,300 people for gang related activity.

Twenty-one of the offenders were arrested on murder-related charges, seven were arrested for rape and sex assault charges, and three for assaults on law enforcement officers. The operation, by Immigration and Customs officials, targeted gang members and associates suspected of being involved in transnational criminal activity.

The agency faced questions from immigration rights activists after a Mexican man under DACA protection, 23-year-old Juan Manuel Montes, claimed through his attorneys last month that he was taken across the Mexican border by authorities and then was arrested and deported after he returned illegally.

ICE also said that 10 people arrested had entered the USA as unaccompanied minors - and nine of them were gang members. "Our efforts to dismantle gangs are much more effective in areas where partnership with local law enforcement is strongest".

Federal officials released the names of only four of the people arrested in the operation, which the agency dubbed Project New Dawn.

Eleven members of MS-13 were arrested at a Falls Church residence on April 26 with the help of Fairfax County police. "Since the start of DACA in 2012, DHS has terminated deferred action for approximately 1,500 recipients due to criminality or gang affiliation concerns".

ICE classifies people as gang members if they admit gang membership or violate federal or state anti-gang laws, or if they meet other criteria "such as having tattoos identifying a specific gang or being identified as a gang member by a reliable source".

The operation was national, but the greatest number of arrests came from the Houston, New York, Atlanta and Newark regions.

Over two thirds of the 1,378 people arrested were United States citizens. Eight of those were alleged members of MS-13, Benner said.

-Nine members of the Bounty Hunter Bloods street gang.

According to a press release, the 55 people in Arizona who were arrested included 48 citizens, seven foreign nationals, 16 confirmed gang members, and seven gang associates.

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