37 arrested in immigration sweeps | NevadaAppeal.com

37 arrested in immigration sweeps

Associated Press Writer

RENO – Thirty-seven foreign nationals with alleged gang ties in northern Nevada face deportation hearings after their arrests in an operation led by federal officials.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said the arrests were the latest under the agency’s nationwide anti-gang “Operation Community Shield.”

ICE agents said the arrests in Reno, Sparks and Carson City followed a three-day operation ending Friday. It was held in conjunction with local law enforcement authorities.

The suspects are accused of being linked to eight different local street gangs, including the South Side Locotes, the Tokers and the Infamous Soldiers.

“The operation has a big impact on reducing crime. When you take the criminal element out of the community, it takes crime out of the community,” said Gregory White, resident agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations.

The suspects were booked for administrative immigration violations, and will be scheduled for a deportation hearing before an immigration judge.

While the vast majority of the suspects are from Mexico, others are from El Salvador and Nicaragua.

White said about four of the suspects were permanent legal U.S. residents, but the others were illegal aliens.

ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice noted that people on green cards in the U.S. can be deported if they commit certain kinds of crimes.

“We believe all of them are deportable based on their criminal history,” Kice said. “An immigration judge will make that decision.”

Kice said many of the suspects have criminal records, including prior convictions for drug violations, assault, burglary and arson.

Since Operation Community Shield began in 2005, ICE agents nationwide have arrested more than 13,000 gang members.