OKLAHOMA CITY – Eleven people were arrested in Oklahoma after a six-week nationwide gang operation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
In all, 1,378 were arrested across the United States, 11 of which were in Oklahoma.
Officials say it is the largest gang surge conducted by HSI to date.
The operation targeted gang members and associates involved in transnational criminal activity, including drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, human smuggling and sex trafficking, murder and racketeering.
Of the 1,378 total arrested, 1,098 were arrested on federal and/or state criminal charges, including 21 individuals arrested on murder-related charges and seven for rape and sexual assault charges.
The remaining 280 were arrested on administrative immigration violations.
Of the total arrested, 933 were U.S. citizens and 445 were foreign nationals from 21 countries in South and Central America, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean.
Numerous state, local and federal law enforcement partners, including ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), participated in the HSI-led operation, which ran March 26 to May 6.
“Gangs threaten the safety of our communities, not just in major metropolitan areas but in our suburbs and rural areas, too,” said ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan. “Gang-related violence and criminal activity present an ongoing challenge for law enforcement everywhere. Our efforts to dismantle gangs are much more effective in areas where partnership with local law enforcement is strongest.”
Of the 1,378 total arrested, 1,095 were confirmed as gang members and associates – including 137 affiliated with the Bloods, 118 with the Sureños, 104 with MS-13, and 104 with the Crips.
The remaining 283 claimed no gang affiliation but were arrested on either criminal or administrative charges.
In North Texas, 61 gang-related arrests were made, 59 of which were criminal arrests. In Oklahoma, all 11 were criminal arrests.
Individuals are confirmed as gang members if they admit membership in a gang; have been convicted of violating Title 18 USC 521 or any other federal or state law criminalizing or imposing civil consequences for gang-related activity; or if they meet certain other criteria such as having tattoos identifying a specific gang or being identified as a gang member by a reliable source.
During this operation, HSI and its partner law enforcement agencies seized 238 firearms; various narcotics including 790.15 ounces of cocaine, 546.96 ounces of methamphetamine, 113.42 ounces of heroin, 1.59 ounces of fentanyl, and 8,019.46 ounces of marijuana; and $491,763 in U.S currency.