How feds say they put dozens of illegal alien gang members on ice

Since Sunday, federal agents have arrested 49 illegal aliens were in the north and northwest suburbs during the continuing Operation: Community Shield, that targets foreign-born gang members for arrest and/or deportation.

Assisting in the raids were officers from Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); sheriffs' departments in Cook and DuPage counties; and local police departments in Addison, Belvidere, Bensenville, Elgin, Franklin Park, Harvard, Mount Prospect, West Chicago, Wheeling and Woodstock, according to ICE.

48 of those arrested by authorities in Chicago are Mexican nationals and one is from Guatemala according to a federal statement. Nine of those arrested had been previously deported 42 had criminal histories, with convictions including drunken driving, drug possession, aggravated battery, burglary, theft and domestic battery, the release said.

It was less than a year ago, on August 21, 2007 that 58 Mexican nationals with ties to violent street gangs were arrested in Chicago's northern and northwest Chicago suburbs, including Waukegan , Mundelein and Round Lake. As is the case with today's arrests, those picked-up last August were affiliated with violent street gangs according to ICE agents

Operation Community Shield began in early 2005 as a national law enforcement initiative that targets violent transnational street gangs. Since it's inception, ICE agents from Chicago and 100 field offices, working in conjunction with hundreds of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies nationwide, have arrested a total of 7,655 street gang members and associates, representing over 700 different gangs. The sweeps have resulted in deportation and prosecution for thousands of violent offenders.

According to ICE's website, the focus of anti-gang efforts were directed toward the Mara Salvatrucha organization, commonly referred to as MS-13, one of the most violent and rapidly growing transnational street gangs. Then in of May 2005, ICE expanded Operation Community Shield to include all transnational criminal street gangs and prison gangs.

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