Southern California Police Arrest 41 Gang-Affiliated Illegals
Updated: March 13th, 2006 10:06 AM EDT
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J. Harry Jones
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Police and federal agents have arrested 41 illegal immigrants, who officials say have ties to violent North County gangs, during a weeklong sweep that ended earlier this month.
The arrests were made in Escondido, San Marcos and Oceanside and included seven juveniles and one woman. All face deportation, authorities said.
Many of those taken into custody have criminal records in the United States, including one man who escaped from prison and another with two prior convictions for battery causing serious injury, officials said.
"This is not an immigration issue, this is a public safety issue," said Serge Duarte, acting special agent in charge of the San Diego office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE.
In the past year, 251 illegal immigrants with ties to street gangs have been arrested in the county as part of the ongoing nationwide "Operation Community Shield."
"Street gangs pose a growing public safety threat to communities throughout this area," Duarte said. "The violence, sophistication and scope of these organizations have reached intolerable levels. This operation shows how ICE is working with its law enforcement partners and leveraging its broad authorities to dismantle these criminal organizations."
The Oceanside and Escondido police departments participated in the operation, as did the Sheriff's Department.
The arrests began Feb. 24 and concluded March 2, Duarte said. Forty of those taken into custody are from Mexico, and one is from Guatemala.
Escondido Police Lt. David Mankin said of the 16 people arrested in his city, most were "definitely from our more notorious street gangs."
In San Marcos, 17 people were arrested. In Oceanside, eight.
All of the arrests were made without major incident, Mankin said.
Operation Community Shield began in February 2005 after immigration officials determined that a predominantly Salvadoran gang, Mara Salvatrucha or MS-13, was one of the most violent street gangs operating in major cities in the United States.
MS-13 does not have a presence in San Diego County, Duarte said yesterday. He said the illegal immigrants targeted in the county came to the United States and joined already-established gangs.
Last year, ICE began Operation Community Shield by arresting more than 100 members of MS-13. In May, ICE expanded the operation to include all criminal street and prison gangs with foreign-born members.
ICE worked with law enforcement agencies across the country, and 2,388 suspected street gang members and associates have been taken into custody so far.
"Our involvement in San Diego is ongoing," Duarte said. "Our message is, if you are a foreign-born street gang member, we're determined to find you."
Just kill them, we don't need more garbage on the streets.
I say it's both.
Just the tip of the iceberg.............
Thousands more where they came from