By Jonathan Wilson
For five years, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement has been working closely with local police to target trans-national gangs, and this week, those efforts paid off in Fairfax County, Virginia, with the arrest of 30 suspected gang members and associates.
Scot Rittenberg, the Special Agent in Charge of the operation, says ICE's Gang Unit worked with Fairfax County Police and Fairfax County Sheriff's deputies in a three day operation leading up to the arrests.
Rittenberg says members of the transnational gangs, MS-13, Southside Locos, and Mexican Pride were arrested in this bust, and many have substantial criminal histories.
"Some of them are involved in gang on gang violence," says Rittenberg. "Others are involved in assaults, property damage."
29 of the 30 arrested are foreign nationals, and Rittenberg says for many, this week's arrest will be the second time they've tangled with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
"Some of them have been identified as prior deportations, so that they are now being prosecuted for re-entry after deportation," he says.
The arrests were made as part of operation Community Shield, which has been in effect since 2005, and allows ICE to work with local law enforcement across the country to target violent trans-national gangs.