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Chicago Woman Arrested for Selling Fraudulent Identity Documents to Illegal Aliens
A woman was arrested Wednesday, February 13, 2013, on charges she allegedly sold fraudulent identity documents to illegal aliens. These charges resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigra

Tag Archives: transnational criminal organization

ICE and HSI Recognized for Combating International Gang Activity

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.

MS-13 Gang Officially Designated a Transnational Criminal Organization by HSI

On Thursday, October 11, 2012, the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) with the assistance of the Department of Homeland Security/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) designated the Latin American gang Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) as a transnational criminal organization (TCO). This group is being designated by Treasury pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13581, which targets significant TCOs and their supporters. E.O. 13581 is a key part of the National Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime.

Using the authority provided in E.O. 13581, Treasury is targeting the economic power of MS-13 as a transnational criminal network – and those individuals and entities who work with them, enable them and support them – by freezing any assets those persons may have within U.S. jurisdiction. Any property or property interests in the U.S., or in the possession or control of U.S. persons in which these targets have an interest are blocked, and U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.

“This designation allows us to strike at the financial heart of MS-13 and is a powerful weapon in our fight to dismantle one of the most violent, transnational criminal organizations operating today,” said ICE Director John Morton. “History has proven that we can successfully take down organized crime groups when we combine sophisticated investigative techniques with tough street level enforcement, cutting off cash flows, contraband and collaborators to ensure they no longer find safe haven in our communities.”

“MS-13 is an extremely violent and dangerous gang responsible for a multitude of crimes that directly threaten the welfare and security of U.S. citizens, as well as countries throughout Central America,” Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen stated. “This action positions us to target the associates and financial networks supporting MS-13, and gives law enforcement an additional tool in its efforts to disrupt MS-13’s activities.”

MS-13 is being designated for its involvement in serious criminal activities, including drug trafficking, human smuggling and sex trafficking, murder and violence, racketeering, and immigration offenses. MS-13, consisting of at least 30,000 members and present in at least five countries, including the United States, is one of the most dangerous criminal gangs in the world today. MS-13 violently protects its illicit interests through murder, murder for hire, kidnapping, blackmail, extortion and assassination. MS-13’s creed is exemplified by one of its mottos, “mata, roba, viola, controla,” which translates in sum and substance to “kill, steal, rape, control.” In addition, MS-13 members have been responsible for numerous killings within the United States.

The HSI National Gang Unit will take the law enforcement lead, under this MS-13 enforcement effort dubbed, “Operation Barbed Wire.” The National Gang Unit removes gang members from our neighborhoods and, when appropriate, from the United States. In 2005, HSI initiated Operation Community Shield, an international law enforcement initiative to enhance U.S. public safety. Operation Community Shield 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 as well as to suppress violence and prosecute criminal enterprises. The National Gang Unit’s goal is to deter, disrupt and dismantle gang operations by tracing and seizing cash, weapons and other assets derived from criminal activities. Since 2006, HSI has arrested 4,078 MS-13 gang members and, partnering with the U.S. Department of Justice, has successfully brought to indictment numerous MS-13 racketeering investigations in Washington, D.C., Virginia, New York, San Francisco, Houston, and Atlanta.

MS-13 is the first transnational criminal street gang designated as a TCO. Others TCOs include the The Brothers’ Circle, Camorra, Yakuza, and Los Zetas in the United States.