ICE arrests 55 people in Arizona in connection to gangs, serious crimes

May 12, 2017, 5:57 AM | Updated: May 13, 2017, 3:11 pm
(Photo: Chris Gardner/U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement)...
(Photo: Chris Gardner/U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement)
(Photo: Chris Gardner/U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement)

PHOENIX — Officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have arrested 55 people in a gang surge, the department said on Thursday.

According to a press release, the 55 people in Arizona who were arrested included 48 citizens, seven foreign nationals, 16 confirmed gang members, and seven gang associates.

“Of the 16 gang members locally arrested, 12 are U.S. citizens and four are foreign nationals, two of which are wanted in connection with homicides committed in the U.S.,” the press release read.

The gang affiliations of all the members were not specified, but the department said one member was a member of the Aryan Brotherhood.

The arrests, which totaled 1,378 nationwide, were a part of a six-week nationwide gang operation targeted at gang members and associates. It ran from March 26 to May 6.

The department said the operation aimed to apprehend people involved in “transnational criminal activity,” including “drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, human smuggling, sex trafficking, murder and racketeering.”

Scott Brown, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Phoenix, said the bust “dealt a serious blow to gang members and other serious criminals as we strive to make our communities safer.”

“The success of this operation is directly attributed to the ongoing collaboration with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners,” Brown continued in the press release.

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ICE arrests 55 people in Arizona in connection to gangs, serious crimes