WASHINGTON (UPI) — The U.S. Homeland Security Investigations agency made more than 1,100 arrests in a sweeping five-week operation targeting gangs allegedly involved in drug trafficking, human smuggling and murder.

Federal agents worked with local and state law enforcement partners to arrest 1,133 people as part of the so-called Project Shadowfire, the agency said Monday; 239 were foreign nationals from 13 different countries, 915 were regarded as gang members, 1,001 were charged with criminal offenses and 132 were arrested on immigration violations. The operation concluded March 21.

While arrests were made across the country, the Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, El Paso, Texas, and San Juan, Puerto Rico, areas saw the greatest activity.

More than $70,000 in U.S. currency, 150 firearms and more than 44 pounds of narcotics were also seized by agents of HSI, a branch of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement organized under the Department of Homeland Security.

“This operation is the latest example of ICE’s ongoing efforts, begun more than a decade ago under Operation Community Shield, to target violent gang members and their associates, to eradicate the violence they inflict upon our communities and to stop the cash flow to transnational organized crime groups operating overseas,” said ICE Director Sarah R. Saldaña.

More than 40,000 gang-related arrests have been made since 2005.


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