Mexicans with gang ties arrested in Calif.
Jerry Seper (The Washington Times) | September 17, 2010
Twelve Mexican nationals with ties to a violent street gang in California have been arrested by a federal, state and local law enforcement task force as part of an anti-gang initiative known as “Operation Community Shield,” led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The operation has accounted for nearly 400 arrests this year and more than 18,900 since it began five years ago.
The arrests in Santa Maria, Calif., this week were the culmination of a two-month investigation targeting members of the West Park Surenos street gang, which law-enforcement authorities have described as a transnational street gang that posed a significant public safety threat.
Just last month, eight other members of the West Park gang were arrested in connection with a drug smuggling operation in California’s central coast, during which authorities seized more than 19 pounds of methamphetamine, a methamphetamine conversion laboratory, 1.5 kilograms of cocaine, crack cocaine, 25 pounds of marijuana, 35 firearms and $800,000 in currency and property. Those arrests were led by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
The West Park gang is just one of numerous criminal groups that originated in California and are known as the Surenos, who have now spread throughout the United States. They are controlled and influenced by the Mexican Mafia, a Mexican-American prison gang. The Surenos have widespread involvement in drug trafficking, drug rip-offs, prostitution, business robberies, contract murders, gambling, debt collection, extortion and other illicit activities.
Image: mk/ec/EARL S. CRYER UPI, Washington Times
Tags: drug smuggling, mexican mafia, Operation Community Shield, surenos, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, West Park gang