WASHINGTON - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced the results of a national operation targeting gang members and associates, including a total of 52 local gang arrests made in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. The operation lasted six weeks and concluded last weekend. It was the largest gang surge conducted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to date.
The operation started in March and for over the past six weeks, 1,378 people were arrested while $491,763 and 238 firearms were seized. Arrests were made nationwide and 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.
ICE says there were 17 total gang arrests made by the D.C. field office, and 35 made by the Baltimore field office. Of the 17 made in the D.C. area, seven were criminal arrests and 10 were arrests for immigration violations. Of the arrests made in the Baltimore area, 14 were criminal arrests and 21 were arrests for immigration violations.
Of the 17 arrests made in the D.C. region, 13 were MS-13 gang members while 16 MS-13 gang members were arrested in the Baltimore area.
Authorities said eleven gang members were arrested with the help of Fairfax County police. Those arrested were operating out of a house that was being used for alleged sex trafficking.
"Violent criminal gangs are the biggest threat facing our communities," said ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan.
This spring, ICE put Montgomery and Prince George’s County on a list of communities that refuse to cooperate with ICE detainers. Homan said that practice hurts law enforcement and puts the public at risk.
"When they get released without our attention, they are back on the streets,” Homan said. “So now, we got to go out find that individual. Many times we don't know where they are. We know the recidivism rate is between 30 to 40 percent. They are going to commit a crime in many cases and now we got to send a team out to look for these people in a less secure environment out in the public.”