Fed gang sweep nets 108 Inland Empire arrests

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Fed gang sweep nets 108 Inland Empire arrests

Post  Drunky McThuggerton on Thu Oct 02, 2008 3:55 pm

By Stacia Glenn, Staff Writer
Article Created: 10/01/2008 08:23:32 PM PDT

A four-month federal sweep targeting gang members and other violent criminals illegally in the country ended this week with more than 100 arrests in the Inland Empire.

"This operation far, far exceeded our expectations," said Debra Parker, assistant special agent in charge for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the Inland Empire. "It was a resounding success."

Operation Community Shield swept across 53 cities in 28 states, with the largest number of arrests (430) taking place in California. More than 1,750 arrests were made nationwide. About 80 percent of the 108 arrests made in San Bernardino and Riverside counties were gang members, Parker said. Of those taken into custody in the Inland Empire, four were sex offenders and 16 were violent offenders. Ten will be prosecuted federally, which typically carries higher penalties.

The initiative ran from June1 to Tuesday and sought out criminal immigrants or members in Latino gangs MS-13, Surenos-13, 18th Street Gang, Latin Kings, Bloods, Crips and Vatos Locos, officials said.

Two local gang members were taken into custody and will face 20 years in federal prison for re-entering the country after deportation, among various criminal acts.

Mauricio Vasquez-Rivera, a native Mexican and member of the "Chino Sinners" gang, was apprehended Sept. 3 in Rialto after a short foot chase. He has been convicted of attempted murder of a police officer, possession of methamphetamine for sale and
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burglary.

Erick Rafael Gamarro, a Guatemalan native and member of West Side Verdugos was picked up Monday in San Bernardino. He has been convicted of assault with a deadly weapon and battery.

Of the 1,759 people arrested during the sweep, officials said 1,500 were gang members, gang associates or convicted criminals.

"Street gangs prey on the neighborhoods in which they operate, and they instill fear through intimidation and violence," said Julie Myers, assistant secretary of Homeland Security for ICE.

Of those apprehended, 730 face criminal charges ranging from attempted murder, assault, drug possession and re-entering the country after deportation. The remaining 1,029 were arrested on various immigration violations.

Nearly 400 of those arrested were U.S. citizens wanted for criminal violations, officials said. Operation Community Shield was launched in 2005 to focus on disrupting streets gangs.

Since then, ICE has arrested about 11,100 gang members nationwide. Of those, 3,997 have been criminally charged and 7,109 have been charged with immigration violations and processed for deportation.

Drunky McThuggerton
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