263 arrested in gang sweep targeting MS-13 (+video)
263 arrested in gang sweep: Of the 263 gang members arrested in the nationwide sweep by ICE, 60 percent were MS-13 members.
On Friday, the Homeland Security Investigations unit of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency announced that it had arrested 361 people in July and August during a nationwide sweep targeting members of MS-13.
Of the 361 arrests, 263 were gang members and associates from 43 different gangs in 71 US cities. Of the 98 others caught during the operation, 84 were non-gang members wanted on criminal charges and 14 were arrested for immigration violations. Out of the 263 gang members arrested, 60 percent were MS-13.
The operation, dubbed "Project Razor's Edge," was conducted from July 15 to Aug. 9. The stated intent of the operation was "to combat the national security and public safety threats posed by MS-13 gang members and associates and to ultimately identify, target, arrest, and prosecute MS-13 gang members and associates as well as their rival gangs," according to a statement by ICE.
"Operations like these are especially rewarding for the men and women of HSI as they know firsthand that they're playing a critical role in community safety," said HSI Executive Associate Director James Dinkins.
Last fall, for the first time in US history, the US Treasury designated a street gang – MS-13 – as a transnational criminal organization, which gave officials more tools to more aggressively target the group, which engages in the drug, sex, and human trafficking trades.