ICE: Gang sweep nets 158 in U.S. illegally
Sheena McFarland (Salt Lake Tribune)
In what officials are calling the largest operation of its kind in Utah, a task force of federal and local law enforcement arrested 158 undocumented immigrants with alleged gang ties to face criminal charges and deportation.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations teamed up with city and state police agencies to focus on transnational gang members and their associates. Of the 158 arrested, 93 are facing state and federal criminal charges, including solicitation to commit aggravated murder, forcible sexual abuse, and drug and firearms violations. Several were tagged for criminal re-entry, meaning they were previously deported but returned, and could face between two and 20 years in prison, said U.S. Attorney for Utah Carlie Christensen. The 93, if convicted, will serve jail or prison time and then be deported.
“Our goal is not just to remove this criminal element from our communities, but from the country,” Christensen said.
But some are saying the roundup went beyond finding violent criminals.
“Local police are using this to get someone they don’t like off the streets,” said J. Christopher Keen, an immigration lawyer in Orem.
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Tags: gang, ICE, illegal, immigration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, sweep, Utah