Federal agents in south Texas have arrested 36 gang members since February suspected of drug trafficking, human smuggling and other criminal acts, according to a news release.
The arrests were part of a nationwide operation dubbed Project Shadowfire which resulted in more than 1,100 arrests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
The five week operation, which concluded March 21, landed 25 alleged gang members in jail from San Antonio and 11 from the Rio Grande Valley. Of the total 1,133 arrests 915 were gang members and associates, 1,001 were charged with criminal offenses and 132 were arrested administratively for immigration violations, the release states.
The majority of arrestees were affiliated with MS-13, Sureños, Norteños, Bloods, and several prison-based gangs. The 25 arrested in south Texas are members of Tango Orejon, Sureno 13, Paisa, Barrio La Colonia, Lincoln Court Kings, Rigsby Court Gangsters/Bloods, Denver Heights Bloods, Aryan Brotherhood, Valluco, Mexican Mafia, and Gulfo del Cartel, the release states.
HSI special agents also seized firearms and narcotics while making these arrests.
“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,” wrote ICE Director Sarah R. Saldaña in the release.
Since the inception of Operation Community Shield in February 2005, HSI special agents, working in conjunction with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, have made more than 40,000 gang-related arrests and seized more than 8,000 firearms, the release states.