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ICE Arrests In Fairfax Part Of National Fight Against Transnational Gangs

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By Jonathan Wilson

In Northern Virginia, Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigators arrested 30 individuals thought to be gang members or associates.

The operation was part of a country-wide effort to fight transnational gangs.

Special Agent Scot Rittenberg says ICE's National Gang Unit worked side-by-side with more than 60 local law enforcement officers and deputies from Fairfax County's Police Department and the county's Sheriff's Office during the operation.

The arrests were coordinated over the course of three days, and Rittenberg says 29 of the 30 are foreign nationals who will face deportation.

"Anyone that is being criminally prosecuted will be prosecuted and serve their time if found guilty, and then deported," he says.

Rittenberg says the operation was part of Community Shield, a program in effect since 2005 that allows ICE to work with local law enforcement to combat transnational gangs across the country.

He says members of MS-13, Mexican Pride, and the Southside Locos were arrested in this roundup -- and face a variety of charges including fraud, larceny and assault.

Rittenberg says ICE's Gang Unit is trying to protect public safety.

"We are targeting criminals, whether they be gang members, or people who've committed crimes that are a serious threat to our public safety or national security," he says.

He says a number of those arrested had been deported already and had reentered the country.

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