US Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced on Monday that a five week operation has resulted in the arrest of over 1,000 gang members all over the United States, including as many as 185 members just in the greater Los Angeles area.
The operation, known as Project Shadowfire, began on February 15 and lasted up until March 21 last week. Local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies were involved in tracking down known gang members as well as others involved in criminal activity across different countries. 915 of the 1,133 people arrested all over the country were linked to crimes such as drug trafficking, sex trafficking, racketeering and human trafficking, ICE has revealed.
The great majority of those arrested held US citizenship, although there were also a number of foreign nationals from as many as 13 other nations. Most of those taken into custody were affiliated with gangs like MS-13, Bloods, Nortenos, Surenos, and other gangs that are based in prisons. Around 1,000 in total now face criminal charges, with 132 others placed under arrest for immigration related violations. Over $70,000, 150 kilos of drugs and 150 firearms were seized in the raids, most of which took place in the areas of Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, El Paso, San Juan and San Francisco.
Project Shadowfire was conducted as part of the ICE global initiative known as Operation Community Shield, which helps to fight the growth of gang activity in the US and elsewhere.