The Trump administration has concluded a six-week nationwide sweep of suspected gang members with 1,378 arrests — the largest such gang sweep conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to date.
The operation, which ran from March 26 through May 6, targeted gang members and associates involved in transnational criminal activity, including drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, human smuggling, sex trafficking, murder and racketeering, Fox News reports.
“Gangs threaten the safety of our communities, not just in major metropolitan areas, but in our suburbs and rural areas, too,” ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan said Thursday. “Gang-related violence and criminal activity present an ongoing challenge for law enforcement everywhere.”
According to ICE, of the 1,378 total arrested, 933 were U.S. citizens, and 1,095 were confirmed as gang members or affiliates. Also, 104 of those arrested were affiliated with the dreaded MS-13 gang, eight of whom illegally crossed the border as unaccompanied minors.
“Our efforts to dismantle gangs are much more effective in areas where partnership with local law enforcement is strongest,” Homan said.
During the operation, HSI partnered with other law enforcement agencies to seize more than 200 firearms, narcotics like cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl and marijuana and $491,763 in U.S. currency.
Enforcement actions occurred across the nation, but the greatest activity took place in the Houston, New York City, Atlanta and Newark, N.J., areas.