Local News

50 in Raleigh Part of Nationwide Sweep of Alien Gang Members

Posted October 9, 2007

— A federal round-up puts dozens of illegal immigrants and area gang members behind bars and on their way out of the United States.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents worked this summer to arrest 93 people in North Carolina: 50 in the Raleigh area and 43 in Winston-Salem. It was part of nationwide effort called Operation Community Shield that netted more than 1,300 suspects.

In a Triangle arrest, one suspect hid in the bathroom of a Raleigh nightclub with a gun hidden in the toilet.

“We took the worst of the worst, so for us that was a significant impact,” the Department of Homeland Security’s resident agent in charge in Raleigh, Thomas O'Connell, said Tuesday.ICE Assistant Secretary Julie L. Myers announced the arrests, which began in  June.

“Violent, foreign-born gang members and their associates have more than worn out their welcome, and to them I have one message: good riddance,” Myers said.

Authorities linked the foreign nationals to nearly 20 different street gangs, including MS-13, Surenos 13 and Brown Pride.

Weeks of planning that followed investigations with local law enforcement agencies let ICE agents target several known Hispanic gangs and their hangouts. Most of the suspects have already been deported, officials said.

“I think that sends a message to other gang members,” O’Connell said.

“When you take that number of gang members off the streets in this multi-city area, that's bound to have a positive effect,” Raleigh Police spokesman Jim Sughrue said.

No one suspects the arrests are a total solution to the gang problem, however.

ICE agents say many illegal-resident gang members are starting to move to more rural areas because of aggressive enforcement in Raleigh and Durham. Federal agents say they are focusing more operations in rural areas in response to the shift.

“It’s an ongoing thing,” O’Connell said.

The ICE chief in Raleigh said many illegal immigrants are drawn to our state because of jobs and because access to documents like a driver's license is easier than it is in some other places.

Some suspects arrested in this sweep had been deported before and returned, and Homeland Security agents worry other groups could follow that example.

“Terrorists could be using the gang members’ methods of smuggling across the southern border to get terrorists into the United States.” O’Connell said. That is part of the reason officials say efforts like Operation Community Shield will continue.


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  • mike275132 Oct 10, 2007

    Only 20 million more to go...........

  • Mrs. Fabulous Oct 10, 2007

    Well PRAISE THE LORD!!!!! Send 'em all back. As the article stated, "Good Riddance"! They are not welcomed especially being that they are committing violent crimes!

  • Blueboxinggloves Oct 10, 2007

    Hmmm, I thought illegal aliens are just here to work? Throw that lie in the pile with the other lies such as "they JUST take jobs that Americans won't do" or that "there aren't enough Americans to fill the vacant jobs." Better wake up people!

  • linh40 Oct 10, 2007

    I thought that bill was Kennedy with McCain. McCain is a republican.

  • MSN93 Oct 10, 2007

    bikeratmc-Who are you kidding? Republican George Bush has done NOTHING to halt the flow of illegal immigrants into this country and, in fact, wants to give them amnesty. It is long past time for us to secure the border with Mexico by any legal means necessary. And I am proud to be a Democrat.

  • MSN93 Oct 10, 2007

    "The ICE chief in Raleigh said many illegal immigrants are drawn to our state because of jobs and because access to documents like a driver's license is easier than it is in some other places."

    WHY, WHY, WHY???????

  • sick_of_racism Oct 9, 2007

    I haven't got time to read all comments so probably someone has already said this - why waste the time and effort to deport them - they'll be bcak here before the end of the month. I agree with ZEITGHOST - keep them here and give them a taste of American justice.

  • barkleylee Oct 9, 2007

    The article says that some of them have already been deported once and since returned to the US. Why would anyone still think that deportation is the answer to this problem? Can't we all clearly see that deportation does not work? These guys must laugh at the deportation that we call punishment. It is just a minor inconvenience to them, not a punishment.

    I would like to have that priveledge after commiting a crime. If I was a fugitive from the law, instead of making a run for the border, I would just sit back and have Uncle Sam give me a free ride to the border.

  • ringlets21 Oct 9, 2007

    I say if they want to come over, do it the right way, LEGALLY, also, learn to speak ENGLISH, this is an english speaking country. Why should we learn spanish? I have been to Bojangles and can't understand what the cashier is saying because she can't speak english, so therefore they get the order wrong. They can't speak ENGLISH and get hired. We can't speak spanish so we don't get hired. Come on get a grip, THIS IS AMERICA!!!!

  • treasure Oct 9, 2007

    The saddest part of this is that it has taken this long for the government/law enforcement to even make a token gesture in removing/prosecuting illegals who are here to prey on the American people. Our government is supposed to protect us. I don't see much of that anymore.