07/24/2007

Tex. gang raids yield 121 arrests

The Associated Press

DALLAS, Tex. — Federal agents and local police have rounded up more than 100 members of street gangs in raids in North Texas cities, immigration officials announced Monday.

More than half of the 121 suspects were arrested on criminal charges, said ICE spokesman Carl Rusnok. The others were taken into custody on administrative, or immigration, violations.

Some gang members who were in the country illegally have been deported or are being processed for deportation. Others are being prosecuted for re-entering the United States after deportation, said ICE agent John Chakwin Jr.

Those arrested during the seven-day operation were members of 27 gangs, including the Asian Boyz, Latin Kings, Mexican Mafia and MS-13, officials said. They included 45 U.S. citizens with pending charges.

"Working in close partnership with federal and local law enforcement agencies, we removed from our communities many fugitive criminals and violent street gang members," Chakwin said.

Arrests were made in Arlington, Irving, Fort Worth, Dallas, Gainesville and Wichita Falls with the help of police in each city. Also participating were other federal and state agencies, as well as the police in Farmers Branch, a Dallas suburb that has drawn attention for passing a law prohibiting apartment rentals to illegal immigrants.

The arrests came as part of Operation Community Shield, a national initiative targeting gangs that was launched more than two years ago after federal officials identified the MS-13 gang, or Mara Salvatrucha, as one of the nation's largest and most violent.

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