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Thursday, May 1, 2014 - 7:44pm
Homeland Security Investigators along with other agencies said they arrested 638 gang members during a month long operation, Project Southbound that targeted members and affiliates of the Sureños gang.
Thirteen El Pasoans and one person from Las Cruces were arrested.
The Sureños, also known Sur 13, is a transnational criminal street gang that originated in Southern California with hundreds of cliques around the United States. The Sureños and their affiliates pay tribute to the Mexican Mafia and the number "13" is their symbol signifying "M" in the alphabet for Mexican Mafia. Membership and cliques associated with the Sureños are expanding faster than any other national-level gang in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Justice's National Gang Intelligence Center's 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment. Sureños gang members are involved in a myriad of criminal activity, including murder, extortion, narcotics trafficking, human trafficking, prostitution and other crimes with a nexus to the border.
Through Project Southbound, which ran March 12 to April 13, HSI special agents worked with 150 federal, state and local law enforcement partners to apprehend individuals from various gangs affiliated with the Sureños.
This enforcement operation is part of HSI's Operation Community Shield a global initiative, in which HSI partners with existing federal, state and local anti-gang efforts to identify violent street gangs and develop intelligence on gang members and associates, gang criminal activities and international movements to arrest, prosecute, imprison and/or deport transnational gang members.
To report suspicious activity, call ICE's 24-hour toll-free hotline at: 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or visit www.ice.gov http://www.ice.gov.