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52 arrested in DC area after nationwide ICE anti-gang operation

A recent U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement anti-gang operation resulted in over a thousand arrests nationwide — 52 of which were in the D.C. area, with 29 of those being from the infamous MS-13 gang.

WASHINGTON — A recent U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement anti-gang operation resulted in over a thousand arrests nationwide — 52 of which were in the D.C. area, with 29 of those busted being from the infamous MS-13 gang.

ICE spokesperson Dani Bennett told WTOP Friday morning that there were 17 arrests in the D.C.-Virginia area by the Washington field office and 35 in Maryland by the Baltimore office.

Of the D.C.-Virginia arrests, 13 were MS-13 and 11 were scooped up in a Falls Church raid.

Sixteen of the Maryland arrests were MS-13.

Eleven members of MS-13 were arrested at a Falls Church residence on April 26 with the help of Fairfax County police.

Investigators had been watching the house, they said, after reports that it was allegedly being used for sex trafficking.

Two people in the home had outstanding deportation orders, officials said.

Nationwide, the operation by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations targeted gang members and associates involved in such activity as drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, human smuggling and sex trafficking, and murder and racketeering.

It netted a total of 1,378 arrested from March 26 to May 6 and brought in not only members of MS-13, but also members of the Bloods, Crips and Sureños gangs.

Of the total arrested, 1,095 were confirmed as gang members and affiliates; 933 were U.S. citizens and 445 were foreign nationals from 21 countries.

HSI and partner agencies seized 238 firearms, various drugs and $491,763 in cash.

“Gangs threaten the safety of our communities, not just in major metropolitan areas but in our suburbs and rural areas, too,” said Thomas Homan, ICE’s acting director, in a news release Thursday. “Gang-related violence and criminal activity present an ongoing challenge for law enforcement everywhere.”

WTOP’s William Vitka contributed to this report.


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