Federal, state and local law enforcement agents arrested 14 foreign-born gang members and associates Tuesday in Jasper, Huntingburg and Evansville, according to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Securities Investigations unit.
“Street gangs pose a growing public safety threat to Indiana’s rural communities,” said Daniel T. Dill, resident agent in charge of the ICE-HSI office in Indianapolis. “With each gang member we arrest and remove from the United States, we make a positive impact in our communities.”
Of the 14 men, 12 are being held by ICE on administrative immigration charges and will be placed into deportation proceedings.
Two are in the Dubois County Jail pending local charges. ICE would did not disclose the names of the individuals for privacy reasons.
Nine of the individuals are from El Salvador, three are from Mexico, one is from Honduras and one is from Haiti. ICE said the individuals are members or associates of the following street gangs: MS-13, Sur-13, and Zoe Pound.
The arrests were made under an ICE initiative dubbed “Operation Community Shield,” which targets transnational street gangs and the significant public safety threat they pose.
During the arrest, ICE agents seized two semi-automatic handguns — each with two magazines of ammunition — two machetes and 300 rounds of ammunition.
ICE said that since it began Operation Community Shield in 2005, it has arrested more than 18,000 gang members and associates belonging to more than 900 different gangs nationwide.