SAN ANTONIO - A six-week nationwide gang operation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement resulted in 76 arrests in the San Antonio area.
According to a news release, Operation Community Shield netted 1,378 arrests in the United States, the largest gang roundup conducted by Homeland Security Investigations.
The operation targeted gang members and associates involved in transnational criminal activity, including drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, human smuggling, sex trafficking, murder and racketeering, officials said.
Of the arrests, 933 were U.S. citizens and 445 were foreign nationals from 21 countries in South and Central America, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean, officials said.
Numerous state, local and federal law enforcement agencies participated in the operation, which ran from March 26 to May 6.
"Gangs threaten the safety of our communities, not just in major metropolitan areas, but in our suburbs and rural areas, too," ICE acting director Thomas Homan said. "Gang-related violence and criminal activity present an ongoing challenge for law enforcement everywhere. Our efforts to dismantle gangs are much more effective in areas where partnership with local law enforcement is strongest."
Of the 1,378 total arrested, 1,095 were confirmed as gang members and affiliates, including 137 affiliated with the Bloods, 118 with the Sureños, 104 with MS-13 and 104 with the Crips, officials said. The other suspects claimed no gang affiliation but were arrested on criminal or administrative charges.
The top three gang affiliations in South Texas represented were Tango Orejons, Bloods and Mexican Mafia, officials said.
One of the suspects arrested in San Antonio was Gilbert Vasquez III, an associate of the Tango Orejon Gang.
A search of house Vasquez was in resulted in the seizure of cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, four handguns and over $48,000 in cash, officials said. Three other people found in the house were also arrested, including Brent Reum, a known member of the Tango Orejon Gang.
The operation also resulted in the seizure nationwide of 238 firearms, 790 ounces of cocaine, 546 ounces of methamphetamine, 113 ounces of heroin, 1.5 ounces of fentanyl, 8,000 ounces of marijuana and $491,763 in cash.
Click here to read the FBI's 2015 national gang report. For more information on border gangs, head to page 28 in the report.
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