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Five in Las Vegas area arrested, nearly 1,400 in U.S. in ICE-led anti-gang crackdown

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Five people in Southern Nevada were among the nearly 1,400 arrests made nationwide in a six-week anti-gang crackdown.

The operation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) concluded over the weekend with 1,378 arrests across the United States in the largest gang surge conducted by HSI. The operation targeted gang members and associates involved in transnational criminal activity, including drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, human smuggling and sex trafficking, murder and racketeering.

Of the 1,378 total arrested, 1,098 were arrested on federal and/or state criminal charges, including 21 individuals arrested on murder related charges and seven for rape and sexual assault charges. The remaining 280 were arrested on administrative immigration violations. Of the total arrested, 933 were U.S. citizens and 445 were foreign nationals from 21 countries in South and Central America, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean.

Numerous state, local and federal law enforcement partners, including ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), participated in the HSI-led operation, which ran March 26 to May 6.

During the operation, HSI and its partner law enforcement agencies seized various narcotics including 790.15 ounces of cocaine, 546.96 ounces of methamphetamine, 113.42 ounces of heroin, 1.59 ounces of fentanyl, and 8,019.46 ounces of marijuana.

"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. Our efforts to dismantle gangs are much more effective in areas where partnership with local law enforcement is strongest."

Of the 1,378 total arrested, 1,095 were confirmed as gang members and affiliates including 137 affiliated with the Bloods, 118 with the Sureños, 104 with MS-13, and 104 with the Crips. The remaining 283 claimed no gang affiliation but were arrested on either criminal or administrative charges.

Individuals are confirmed as gang members if they admit membership in a gang; have been convicted of violating Title 18 USC 521 or any other federal or state law criminalizing or imposing civil consequences for gang-related activity; or if they meet certain other criteria such as having tattoos identifying a specific gang or being identified as a gang member by a reliable source.

Three individuals arrested during this operation previously had deferred action under DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). Aliens granted DACA who are found to pose a threat to national security or public safety may have their deferred action terminated at any time and the Department of Homeland Security may seek their removal from the United States. Since the start of DACA in 2012, DHS has terminated deferred action for approximately 1,500 recipients due to criminality or gang affiliation concerns.

Ten individuals arrested during the operation crossed the border as unaccompanied minors. Nine of the 10 were confirmed as gang members, eight of whom were MS-13 gang members.

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