Top-level officials from South San Francisco and Daly City met with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents the morning of Wednesday, November 14, 2012, to formally recognize them for their efforts to combat gang-related crime and violence in those communities.
The mayors and police chiefs of both cities presented HSI special agents with a proclamation commending their work on a long-term racketeering investigation that led to May’s federal indictment of 19 members of a South San Francisco street gang. Three HSI special agents were shot and wounded while seeking to arrest one of the gang members charged in that case. In addition to the original racketeering allegations, that defendant, Victor Flores, aka Little Creeper, of Petaluma, Calif., is now accused in a second superseding indictment of attempting to murder the three federal agents.
“The city of South San Francisco wishes to thank HSI for its assistance in the investigation and arrest of the 19 members of the criminal street gang who were responsible for many gang-related crimes, including a triple homicide in December 2010,” said South San Francisco Police Chief Michael Massoni. “HSI’s collaboration with the South San Francisco Police Department was instrumental in bringing this case to a successful conclusion. This investigation underscores what positive outcomes can happen when local law enforcement works in collaboration with our partners in the federal system.”
In July, South San Francisco representatives traveled to Southern California to personally thank members of HSI’s Los Angeles-based Special Response Team, including the three special agents who were wounded, for their assistance with the execution of the gang arrest warrants. HSI’s Special Response Teams are often called upon to serve high-risk warrants.
“Public recognition is always gratifying, but perhaps the greatest reward comes from knowing that our agents’ efforts have contributed to making these communities safer,” said Clark Settles, special agent in charge for HSI San Francisco. “Promoting public safety is at the core of HSI’s mission and, as this case makes clear, when we partner with local authorities to target transnational street gangs, we can achieve impressive results.”
This investigation into the South San Francisco street gang was part of HSI’s Operation Community Shield. Launched in 2005, Operation Community Shield is an international law enforcement initiative that brings to bear HSI’s expansive statutory and civil enforcement authorities to combat the growth and proliferation of transnational criminal street gangs, prison gangs and outlaw motorcycle gangs throughout the United States. With assistance from state, local, tribal and foreign law enforcement partners, the initiative helps HSI locate, investigate, prosecute, and where applicable, immediately remove gang members from our neighborhoods and ultimately from the United States.