A Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent inspects an arrested individual's tattoos for signs of gang affiliation, in this U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) picture taken in Houston, Texas March 8, 2016 and released March 28, 2016. REUTERS/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement/Handout via Reuters
Posted: Tuesday, March 29, 2016. 4:12 pm CST.
By BBN Staff: U.S. immigration agents have arrested more than 1,000 suspects, including several Belizeans, on charges including attempted murder and witness tampering, in a nationwide operation aimed at international gangs, officials said on Monday.
The five-week operation headed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, dubbed Project Shadow fire, targeted criminal organizations linked to drug trafficking, murder and racketeering, the agency said in a statement.
Of the 1,133 arrested, 915 were cross-border gang members and associates. Just over 1,000 were charged with criminal offenses and the rest face immigration charges.
A majority of those arrested had links to notorious groups such as MS-13, Sureños, Norteños, Bloods and several prison-based gangs. The operation was centered on the Los Angeles; Atlanta; San Francisco; Houston; and El Paso, Texas areas.
And while most of those detained were Americans, 239 were nationals from Belize, Mexico, Spain, El Salvador, China, Jamaica, Guatemala, Honduras, the Philippines and other countries.
The agency hasn’t released the exact number of Belizeans arrested in the operation, but those arrested and are there illegally will most likely serve jail time then be deported.