Calling it a record sweep, the federal government announced today the arrests of 1,378 people who were targeted in a six-week-long operation that took down some of the nation’s most dangerous gang members, from alleged drug dealers and killers to alleged human smugglers and sex traffickers, the government said.
Of the total arrested, two-thirds were U.S. citizens, one-third were foreign nationals from 21 countries in South and Central America, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean.
Michigan accounted for 20 of the total arrests, all of which came from Detroit and Flint. Of the total arrests,13 were members of Detroit-based gangs, including the Latin Count, 18th Street, Cheddda Avenue and Surenos. Seven Flint gang members also were arrested and represented the Spanish Cobras, East Side Crips, and IMOB.
The gang operation, which was led by. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, ran from March 26 through May 6. ICE is calling it the largest gang surge to date. Several law enforcement agencies were involved in the busts, including the Detroit and Flint police departments, the Michigan State Police, the FBI, U.S. Border Patrol, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
“Gangs threaten the safety of our communities, not just in major metropolitan areas but in our suburbs and rural areas, too,” said ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan. “Gang-related violence and criminal activity present an ongoing challenge for law enforcement everywhere.”
Of those arrested, 1,098 were arrested on federal and/or state criminal charges, including 21 people arrested on murder-related charges and seven on rape and sexual assault charges. The remaining 280 were arrested on administrative immigration violations.
But not all were accused of being gang members. Of the 1,378 total arrested, 1,095 were confirmed as gang members and affiliates, authorities say. The remaining 283 claimed no gang affiliation but were arrested on either criminal or administrative charges.
“This latest operation clearly shows our collective resolve to attack and dismantle the street gangs that are threatening our communities,” said Steve Francis, acting special agent in charge of HSI Detroit. “HSI will continue to aggressively target these organizations and combat the violence that they spread in our communities.”
In Detroit, there has been an ongoing effort by law enforcement to crack down on gang violence, with local, state and federal law enforcement groups teaming up to dismantle what they consider the most violent gangs in the crime-plagued city. In four years, the operation — known as the Detroit One initiative — has led to the arrest of more than 100 gang suspects. They include:
–17 members of the Seven Mile Blood street gang.
–Nine members of the Bounty Hunter Bloods street gang.
–13 members of the Latin Counts street gang.
–14 members of the Phantom Outlaw Motorcycle Club/Vice Lords street gang.
–Four Vice Lord members in state court on armed robbery charges and a Vice Lord leader charged under the federal street gang statute in his role in that armed robbery.
–Nine Vice Lords members on racketeering charges stemming from the shooting of four family members who were gunned down at their home on Detroit’s northwest side;
–Three members of the Band Crew street gang.
–10 members of the RTM street gang.
–24 people on drug conspiracy charges of running heroin, crack and cocaine rings in 16 different houses in the east-side Ravendale neighborhood of Detroit.
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