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Sunday, 13 September 2009

"transnational street gangs" such as MS-13, one of the largest Hispanic street gangs in the United States, and Sureno-13, one of the most significant

four-day operation targeting street gangs in north and central Alabama ended with 23 people arrested and facing possible deportation. U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement agents arrested 20 men, two women and one juvenile they said have ties to violent street gangs during a sweep of Jefferson, Shelby and Morgan counties.
The effort targeted members of several "transnational street gangs" such as MS-13, one of the largest Hispanic street gangs in the United States, and Sureno-13, one of the most significant gangs operating in the Southeast, according to the National Gang Intelligence Center, a group supported and staffed by various government agencies. Such gangs have high numbers of foreign-born members and are frequently involved in human trafficking, drug smuggling and immigration violations, according to ICE. Other gangs mentioned in the announcement of the arrests were Lejion Negra, Judas 13, Southside Locotes and La Quemada. "Street gangs account for a significant amount of crime nationally and locally," Jesse Blakeman, resident agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Birmingham, said in a prepared statement. "ICE works closely with our local law enforcement partners to identify, locate and arrest these gang members to thwart criminal activity in our communities. Ultimately, ICE deports these gang members." Most of those apprehended were taken to the DeKalb County Jail; three were released pending immigration hearings. As of Friday, only two faced criminal charges, according to ICE. Misael Godoy-Torres was arrested Thursday at Cedar Brook Apartments in Hoover and has been charged with being an illegal alien in possession of a gun, according to federal court records. An affidavit filed Friday stated ICE agents received a tip that Godoy-Torres, a Mexican citizen, was a member of street gang Brown Pride 13. When his girlfriend let the agents into the apartment, Godoy-Torres threw a rifle from a third-story bathroom window and was attempting to jump from the window when he was arrested, the affidavit said. Agents found a cell phone with pictures of Godoy-Torres with the gun and "what appears to be a gang bandanna," the affidavit stated. Another man, Margarito Carbajal-Nava, was in custody in Decatur City Jail on three state charges - probation violations on three charges of criminal trespassing - a jail official said Friday. Officer Sharon Latham said Carbajal-Nava, a 38-year-old Decatur resident, was being held for ICE and was arrested Aug. 30. A statement issued by ICE Friday stated that agents conducted the operation working with local law enforcement including police officers in Alabaster, Decatur, Hoover and Pelham, and Shelby County sheriff's deputies. Alabaster Police Deputy Chief Curtis Rigney said ICE agents asked his officers for backup as they "went to a few residences." Rigney said he did not know if anyone was apprehended in that city. Rigney said his department has not noticed an increased gang presence in Alabaster, but is eager to work with immigration officials because "you never know where these gangs are."


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