Nationwide gang crackdown leads to 18 arrests in Midland, Alpine

Nationwide gang crackdown leads to 18 arrests in Midland, Alpine
Law enforcement officials inspect an individual’s tattoos for signs of possible gang affiliation during his arrest on March 8, 2016. (Source: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement)
Officers interview an individual after his arrest on March 7, 2016. (Source: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement)
Officers interview an individual after his arrest on March 7, 2016. (Source: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement)
The National Gang Unit helped track down and arrest 1,113 individuals during Project Shadowfire. (Source: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement)
The National Gang Unit helped track down and arrest 1,113 individuals during Project Shadowfire. (Source: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement)
An individual is cuffed and photographed following his arrest on March 7, 2016. (Source: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement)
An individual is cuffed and photographed following his arrest on March 7, 2016. (Source: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement)

Federal investigators arrested 12 people in Midland and six in Alpine following a five-week, nationwide operation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), officials announced Monday.

"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 surge operation, called "Project Shadowfire," concluded March 21 and resulted in a total of 1,133 arrests, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Special agents also seized 150 firearms, more than 20 kilograms of narcotics and more than $70,000.

More than 900 of the arrestees are "transnational criminal gang members" or otherwise associated with transnational criminal activity such as drug trafficking, human smuggling, sex trafficking, murder and racketeering, officials said.

The majority of the individuals arrested during Project Shadowfire were U.S. citizens, records revealed, but 239 foreign nationals from 13 countries in Central America, Asia, Europe and the Caribbean were also arrested.

Arrestees have been linked to gangs including the MS-13, Sureños, Norteños, Bloods and other prison-based groups, according to a press release issued Monday by ICE officials.

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