Citizen Staff Writer
By HEIDI ROWLEY
Thirteen gang members in the country illegally were arrested in Tucson over the past week as part of a national roundup that resulted in 66 arrests, federal officers said.
Russell Ahr, a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Phoenix, said arrests were made in seven cities.
Tucson had the highest number of arrests. In Los Angeles, a task force made nine arrests.
Only one arrest in Tucson was made in connection with an alleged criminal offense. The others arrested were detained on suspicion of being in the country illegally, a civil offense.
“I was surprised that more gang members were picked up in Tucson than in L.A.,” Ahr said.
The arrests were made by a task force including ICE and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. However, Ahr said, the Tucson arrests were done by ICE without the assistance of ATF.
The task force focused on suspects who had a gang affiliation and a history of violence-related arrests such as assault or homicide and who were known to be in the country illegally, Ahr said.
He said the task force arrested members of 19 gangs, including Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), Tiny Rascals, Latin Kings, Crazy Riders, Sur-13, Vatos Locos and the Mexican Mafia.
“By combining forces, ICE and ATF are dealing serious blows to criminal street gangs and working to reduce violence in communities throughout the nation,” John P. Clark, acting assistant secretary for ICE, said in a statement.
The names of those arrested were not available last night.
ICE’s Operation Community Shield was launched in February to disrupt and dismantle violent international street gangs by bringing to bear ICE’s full spectrum of immigration and customs authorities, including drug and financial investigative expertise, against these criminal organizations, according to the agency’s Web site.
• Albuquerque, N.M 2
• Baltimore 9
• Greensboro, N.C. 7
• Tucson 13
• Los Angeles 9
• Minneapolis 10
• Tulsa, Okla. 5
• District of Columbia 9
• Las Vegas 2
Source: ICE’s Operation Community Shield