SEARCH

Entries in Southern Temptest (1)

Tuesday
Mar012011

Hundreds of Mexican Drug Gang Members Caught in Crackdown

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A sweeping federal takedown Tuesday confirms that Mexican drug cartels have penetrated the United States and have affiliated drug gangs on the streets of hundreds of American cities, federal officials said.

A total of 678 alleged gang members from 168 cities were arrested by an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) task force targeting gangs with ties to drug trafficking organizations.

More than 46 percent of those arrested were affiliated with 13 different Mexican drug trafficking organizations, ICE officials said. Of the 678 arrested, 447 were charged with criminal offenses and 421 were foreign nationals.

The operation, Project Southern Tempest, was conducted from December 2010 through the end of February. In addition to the arrests, the operation also seized 86 firearms, large quantities of methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana, and more than $70,000 in cash, according to ICE officials.

"These transnational gangs are a direct threat to our safety," ICE Director John Morton said at an afternoon news conference Tuesday. "We have to go after them hammer and tong."

Morton said transnational gangs are not only working the drug trade, but are frequently working in human smuggling, weapons smuggling and other crimes with a nexus to the border.

Project Southern Tempest is the latest in a series of federal task force operations targeting drug gangs. The operations include local police in dozens of U.S. cities, including Atlanta.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 







ABC News Radio