Feds Partner with Local Cops to Capture Alien Street Gang Members
Jim Kouri, CPP
BOSTON - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) partnered with Boston-area law enforcement officers to arrest fifty nine foreign nationals who now face federal criminal charges or deportation, as part of Operation Community Shield, a nationwide effort to combat violent street gang activity.
The arrests are part of a multi-city enforcement operation over the summer to dismantle the criminal organizations across the country. At a news conference in Washington, D.C. today, ICE Assistant Secretary Julie L. Myers announced that ICE has arrested 1,313 gang members, gang associates, and illegal aliens across the country during the last two months.
"Violent foreign-born gang members represent a threat to communities across the nation. Working closely with our federal, state and local partners, Operation Community Shield has resulted in the arrest of more than 7,500 gang members and associates since its inception, and more than 1,300 just this summer," said Julie L. Myers, Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for ICE. "Violent foreign-born gang members and their associates have more than worn out their welcome, and to them I have one message: good riddance."
In the Boston-area, ICE agents worked with twelve local, state and federal partners to identify and apprehend gang members and their associates. Some of the partnering agencies include: the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the United States Attorney's Office, The Middlesex County Sheriff's Department, the Suffolk County Sheriff's Department, Boston Police Department, Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority Police, Massachusetts State Police, Chelsea Police Department, Everett Police Department, Lynn Police Department, Revere Police Department, and Somerville Police Department.
"ICE's partnerships with these law enforcement agencies are a major reason that Operation Community Shield has been so successful here in Boston," said Bruce M. Foucart, special agent-in-charge of ICE's Office of Investigations in Boston. "Together law enforcement agencies are attacking violent street gangs and removing dangerous criminals from our neighborhoods."
Everett Police Chief Steven A. Mazzie said, "Partnerships between federal, state and local police send a strong message to those who engage in violent crime and destroy the fabric of our communities. The vast majority of our residents want to live without fear and removing this criminal gang element helps improve the quality of life for everyone."
The foreign nationals arrested as part of these latest ICE enforcement actions in the Boston-area are linked to many different street gangs, including Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), Vatos Locos, 18th Street and Surenos (SUR-13).
The majority of those arrested by ICE agents over the summer are from El Salvador, but the group also includes foreign nationals from Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua.
Operation Community Shield is a comprehensive initiative launched by ICE in 2005 to disrupt and dismantle transnational, violent street gangs. Operation Community Shield marks the first time the federal government has used its powerful immigration and customs authorities in a methodical national campaign against criminal street gangs in the United States. Since its inception Operation Community Shield has led to more than 7,000 arrests nationwide.
ICE will continue to use its broad immigration authorities, both criminal and administrative, against gang members, as well as its customs authorities to target gang-related narcotics smuggling and money laundering activities. Operation Community Shield also involves strong cooperation with existing federal, state, and local anti-gang efforts.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.