Tags: Dozens | Foreign | Gang | Members | Nabbed | L.A.

Dozens of Foreign Gang Members Nabbed in L.A.

Wednesday, 06 June 2007 12:00 AM

Dozens of Mexican and Central Americans with ties to violent southern California street gangs have been arrested or indicted on drugs, weapons and immigration charges, immigration officials in Los Angeles said on Wednesday.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said 124 gang members had been arrested in southern California over the last three months as part of a nationwide operation against gang members who come and go across the southern U.S. border and commit crimes ranging from murder, robbery and drug smuggling.

Fifty-six foreign nationals linked to more than two dozen Los Angeles area street gangs have been indicted on federal criminal charges that include re-entering the United States after deportation.

Most are Mexican but the group also includes people from Guatemala, El Salvador and Belize.

The officials did not provide figures for previous periods and it was not possible to determine whether such arrests and indictments have increased or decreased.

"The foreign national gang members we're targeting are career criminals -- brutal thugs who, in many cases, prey on members of their own immigrant community," said Julie L. Myers, Department of Homeland Security assistant secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

"We want to send a clear message to these gang members: we will deal strongly with those who ignore our immigration laws and place our neighborhoods at risk," Myers said.

U.S. immigration agents have been working with federal and state law enforcement agencies as part of the crackdown aimed at taking gang members off the streets of Los Angeles, which police and city officials have dubbed the gang capital of the world.

The city of Los Angeles is home to an estimated 400 gangs that were blamed for more than half the city's 478 murders last year. Hundreds more gangs flourish in greater Los Angeles and neighboring counties.

Many Los Angeles street gangs trace their roots to Central America and its civil wars of the 1980s that prompted a flow of immigrants to southern California.

One of the six people arrested in Los Angeles last week as part of the probe was named as Pedro Barboza-Serrano, 40, a Mexican national and reputed member of the Los Angeles Eastside Longos gang whose record includes prior convictions on drug charges, robbery, burglary, and spousal battery, officials said.

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Dozens of Mexican and Central Americans with ties to violent southern California street gangs have been arrested or indicted on drugs, weapons and immigration charges, immigration officials in Los Angeles said on Wednesday. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement...
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2007-00-06
Wednesday, 06 June 2007 12:00 AM
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