Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents led nationwide busts that resulted in the arrests of 1,133, including more than 900 transnational criminal gang members and others associated with transnational criminal activity, during a five-week operation this month called Project Shadowfire.
Most of those arrested are charges with offenses like drug trafficking, human smuggling and sex trafficking, murder and racketeering.
“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.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said between Feb. 15 and March 21, HSI National Gang Unit special agents worked with state, local and federal law enforcement partners, including ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), to apprehend the individuals from various gangs.
Most of the individuals arrested during Project Shadowfire are US citizens DHS said, but 239 are foreign nationals from 13 countries in Central America, Asia, Europe and the Caribbean.
Of the 1,133 arrests, 915 were gang members and associates, 1,001 were charged with criminal offenses and 132 were arrested administratively for immigration violations.
DHS said the majority of those arrested are affiliated with gangs like MS-13, Sureños, Norteños, Bloods and several prison-based gangs.
Enforcement actions occurred around the country, with the greatest activity taking place in the Los Angeles, San Juan, Atlanta, San Francisco, Houston, and El Paso areas.
HSI special agents seized 150 firearms, more than 20 kilograms of narcotics and more than $70,000 in U.S currency.