Project Southbound arrests over 600 gang members nationwide, 22 in Chicago

A Sureños tattoo on an arrested gang member. Image provided by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office.
May 1, 2014 1:38:34 PM PDT
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) announced Thursday that 638 gang members and associates from 145 different gangs were arrested in 179 cities across the nation, including 22 in the Chicago area. All arrests were made during Project Southbound, a month-long joint operation from HSI and ICE targeting gangs affiliated with the Surenos.

HSI special agents made 22 arrests in Chicago, as well as the suburban communities of Aurora, Cicero, Des Plains, Elgin, Hanover Park, Hoffman Estates, Mount Prospect and Palatine. Twenty of those arrests were of documented members of the transnational street gangs Sure?os 13, Insane Dueces, 18th Street, Latin Kings and Satan's Disciples. Two non-gang members who were within ICE's stated priorities were also arrested.

Local police departments in Arlington Heights, Cicero, Elgin, Mount Prospect and Rolling Meadows assisted HSI Chicago with the operation.

The Surenos, also known as Sur 13, is a transnational criminal street gang that originated in California and which boasts hundreds of cliques around the US. The Sure?os and their affiliates pay tribute to the Mexican Mafia. Membership and cliques associated with the Surenos are expanding faster than any other national-level gang in the U.S., according to the 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment issued by the Department of Justice's National Gang Intelligence Center. Surenos gang members are involved in criminal activity that includes murder, extortion, narcotics trafficking, human trafficking and prostitution, among others.

Eleven of the Chicago gang members arrested have criminal histories that feature prior convictions for a wide range of crimes including aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, theft, reckless conduct, delivery of a controlled substance, burglary, auto theft and drunk driving.

Project Southland is part of HIS's Operation Community Shield, a global initiative in which HIS partners with existing federal, state and local anti-gang efforts to identify violent street gangs and develop intelligence that will lead to arrests, prosecution and imprisonment or deportation of transnational gang members. Since the inception of Operation Community Shield in Feb. 2005, more than 33,000 gang members or associates have been arrested.


Load Comments