Agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), in close partnership with local law enforcement, arrested 22 men during a five-day operation this week. This is the latest local effort in an ongoing national ICE initiative to target transnational gang members.
The arrests were made as part of Operation Community Shield, a national initiative whereby ICE partners with other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to target the significant public safety threat posed by transnational street gangs. Partnerships with local law enforcement agencies are essential to the success of Operation Community Shield.
The multi-agency operation began April 17. Arrests were made in the following Illinois communities: Bolingbrook, Glendale Heights, Joliet and Melrose Park. All 22 men are documented members or associates of the following transnational street gangs: Vice Lords, Latin Kings, Latin P-Stones, Two-Sixers, and Sureño 13s.
All of those arrested have criminal histories that include arrests or convictions for a wide range of crimes committed in the United States. Some of their crimes include: aggravated battery to a peace officer, armed robbery, burglary, criminal damage to property, domestic battery, drunken driving, mob action, possessing marijuana with intent to deliver, residential burglary, unlawfully possessing a weapon by a felon, and unlawfully using a weapon.
Eighteen of the 22 gang members arrested are from Mexico, two are from Guatemala, and one is from Ghana. They range in age from 18 to 40. Two were previously deported to Mexico, of which one may face criminal prosecution for illegally re-entering the United States after being deported. They remain in ICE custody on administrative immigration charges pending deportation. In accordance with privacy policies, ICE does not release the names of those arrested on administrative immigration charges.