Thirty-five people with probable ties to street gangs were arrested in the Las Vegas area late Thursday as part of a nationwide federal sting.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is overseeing the crackdown known as Operation Community Shield.
All but three of those arrested are foreign nationals who face deportation. Seven face criminal charges, including three who could be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney on charges of felony re-entry after deportation, a violation that carries a potential 20-year prison sentence.
“These are not the normal illegal aliens,” said Richard Curry, assistant special agent in charge of the agency’s Las Vegas office. “They’re the worst of the worst we want to get off the street to make Nevada a safer place.”
Most have records of felonies, such as dealing drugs near schools and drive-by shootings, Curry said. They have suspected ties to 19 different gangs.
Deportation is another way of cracking down, Curr said. “We do our part to remove them from the U.S.”
Twenty-seven of the suspects are from Mexico; the remainder are from El Salvador, the Philippines, Honduras, Cuba, Guatemala and Laos.
One 26-year-old was a previously deported Mexican with ties to the Park Avenue street gang and has prior arrests for weapons charges and drug possession.
An 18-year-old Mexican member of the 18th Street gang had been previously arrested for attempted murder in connection with a drive-by shooting.
ICE worked with the Nevada Department of Public Safety, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, the Mesquite Police Department and the North Las Vegas Police Department.
Contact reporter Scott Wyland at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-455-4519.