Local arrests linked to Sureños, Aryan Circle, Texas Syndicate gangs

Local arrests linked to Sureños, Aryan Circle, Texas Syndicate gangs
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)
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)

MIDLAND-ODESSA, TX (KWES) - Investigators confirmed the gang affiliations of 12 people arrested in the Midland-Odessa area during a five-week, nationwide, anti-gang operation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

The unidentified individuals taken into custody in the Permian Basin are linked to the Texas Syndicate, Sureños and Aryan Circle, Homeland Security officials said Monday.

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

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.

At least five of the 12 Midland-Odessa arrestees are charged with drug-related state felonies, investigators confirmed.

Other individuals arrested nationwide during Project Shadowfire have been linked to gangs including the MS-13, Norteños and Bloods, officials revealed.

"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

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