45 Arrests Made in Charlotte Area During National Gang Roundup

“Project Southern Tempest is the largest-ever ICE-led gang enforcement operation targeting gangs with ties to drug trafficking organizations,” said Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton.

By Steve Lyttle / Charlotte Observer – March 4, 2011

Federal agents have arrested 678 people during a two-month roundup of gang members in Charlotte and several other areas of the country, authorities say.

Project Southern Tempest was conducted from December through February by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations unit.

The HSI agents worked with local, state and federal law enforcement authorities from 173 departments, focusing on 13 gangs with ties to Mexican drug operations, according to the federal government.

“Project Southern Tempest is the largest-ever ICE-led gang enforcement operation targeting gangs with ties to drug trafficking organizations,” said Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton.

Officials say there were at least 45 arrests in the Charlotte area – 16 in Charlotte and 29 in Gastonia. Their gang affiliations included the Asian Boys Crips, Bloods, Collateral, CRIPS, Surenos and Trap Boys.

The government said HSI set up eight task forces – in Charlotte; Baltimore; Birmingham; Dallas; Salt Lake City; San Angelo, Texas; St. Paul, Minn.; and in Honduras. Authorities say these task forces are aiming to the structural leadership of gangs.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials offer these statistics on the 678 people arrested:

They came from 133 different gangs.

447 were charged with criminal offenses.

322 had violent criminal histories.

421 were citizens of other countries.

The government provided background stories on several of those arrested, including:

Andrey Melnikov, 36, a Russian national with legal permanent residence status in the U.S. Authorities say he was involved with the Valleros gang and was arrested in Oceanside, Calif., on auto theft charges. His criminal convictions include possession of a weapon on school grounds and possession of a firearm by a felon.

Shawn Allison, 32, a Jamaican national and alleged member of the Jamaican Posse gang. He was arrested in the Bronx, N.Y., for attempted murder. He has previous convictions for possession with intent to distribute and criminal contempt.

Gustavo Morales, 52, a Mexican national who U.S. agents say was involved with the Boomerangz gang. He was arrested in Reading, Pa., on federal offenses related to narcotics and weapons violations. His criminal record includes a conviction for re-entry into the United States.

Published in: on March 4, 2011 at 12:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

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