WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal immigration agents have helped arrest more than 1,300 accused gang members across the United States in the last six weeks, the Homeland Security Department said Thursday.
The announcement of the gang sweep, part of an enforcement effort launched in 2005, comes amid a Trump administration effort to crack down on street gangs as part of a broader border security and illegal immigration enforcement effort.
Less than a third of those arrested in the latest operation were foreign citizens.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement acting director Thomas Homan said 1,098 suspected gang members were arrested on a variety of federal and state criminal charges, while 280 others face administrative immigration charges. Among them were 384 foreigners who were living in the U.S. illegally and 61 legally in the country.
"Gang members are involved in a broad range of criminal activity, including drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, extortion and other crimes with a nexus to our border," Homan said.
ICE said hundreds of suspected members of the Bloods, Surenos, MS-13 and Crips gangs were among those arrested in the operations between late March and early May. Agents arrested 104 suspected MS-13 members. ICE said that group included five U.S. citizens and three immigrants in the country legally.
The Trump administration has said MS-13 poses a particular risk to American communities and is among the most ruthless street gangs.