Thursday, August 29, 2013

Don't text and drive

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(CNN) -- We've all heard the dictum: Don't text and drive. Now a New Jersey state appeals court has an addendum: Don't knowingly text a driver -- or you could be held liable if he causes a crash.
Kyle Best was behind the wheel of his pickup in September 2009 driving down a rural highway when Shannon Colonna sent him a text.
The two were teens at the time. He was 18; she was 17, and they were dating. They sent each other 62 texts that day, according to court documents.
In the opposing lane of traffic, David Kubert was cruising along on a big, blue touring motorcycle with his wife, Linda, along for the ride. They approached Best at exactly the wrong time.
A court summary of the times of texts and calls to and from Best's cell phone reflect what happened next:
The teens were having a text chat, volleying each other messages every few moments.
Seventeen seconds after Best sent a text, he was calling a 911 operator.
His truck had drifted across the double center line and hit the Kuberts head-on.
The scene Best described to the emergency operator was most certainly gruesome.
"The collision severed, or nearly severed David's left leg. It shattered Linda's left leg, leaving her fractured thighbone protruding out of the skin as she lay injured in the road," the court document said.
Best hung up. Colonna texted him two more times.
The court did not publish the contents of their messages.
The lawsuit
The Kuberts both lost their legs. They sued.
But they didn't just go after Best. They included Colonna in the lawsuit.
In their minds, she was distracting him and was also responsible for their pain and loss.
They settled with Best and lost against Colonna, but they appealed that decision.
The plaintiffs' attorney, Stephen Weinstein, argued that the text sender was electronically in the car with the driver receiving the text and should be treated like someone sitting next to him willfully causing a distraction, legal analyst Marc Saperstein told CNN affiliate WPIX-TV.
The argument seemed to work.
The ruling
On Tuesday, three appeals court judges agreed with it -- in principle.
They ruled that if the sender of text messages knows that the recipient is driving and texting at the same time, a court may hold the sender responsible for distraction and hold him or her liable for the accident.
"We hold that the sender of a text message can potentially be liable if an accident is caused by texting, but only if the sender knew or had special reason to know that the recipient would view the text while driving and thus be distracted," the court said.
But the judges let Colonna off the hook.
She had a habit of sending more than 100 texts a day and was oblivious to whether recipients were driving or not.
"I'm a young teenager. That's what we do," she said in her deposition before the original trial.
Since she was unaware that Best was texting while driving, she bore no responsibility, the court decided.
"In this appeal, we must also decide whether plaintiffs have shown sufficient evidence to defeat summary judgment in favor of the remote texter. We conclude they have not," it said.
The reaction
During the trial, Colonna, now 21, found it "weird" that the plaintiffs tried to nail down whether she knew Best was texting behind the wheel, the court document said.
The judges' decision has elicited a similar response from the state's governor, Chris Christie.
The driver is ultimately responsible, he said. Not someone sending him a text.
"You have the obligation to keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel and pay attention to what you're doing," he told radio station New Jersey 101.5.
Other New Jerseyites agreed.
"That's completely absurd, just because you know you're driving doesn't mean, it really doesn't mean they know you're looking at it," Joe Applegate told WPIX.
"Even talking to the driver can distract them, so they are going to arrest for someone who simply talked to someone who is driving?" Louise McKellip asked.
The future
New Jersey has been cracking down hard on texting and driving in recent years, implementing new laws and regulations that treat it in a similar manner as drunken driving if it involves an injury accident.
The state passed a law last year based on the fate of the Kuberts and others who had been killed or maimed by texting motorists.
The "Kulesh, Kubert and Bolish's Law" makes distracted driving a crime if the driver causes an accident. Fines for bodily injury run as high as $150,000, and the driver can go to jail for up to 10 years.
And new legislation proposed by state Sen. James Holzapfel would let police thumb through cellphones if they have "reasonable grounds" to believe the driver was talking or texting when the wreck occurred.
The bill has set off alarm bells with the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

ICE deports Sandra Avila Beltran

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August 20, 2013
El Paso, TX

ICE deports Sandra Avila Beltran
Avila Beltran, a convicted accessory to drug traffickers, was flown to Mexico City

EL PASO, Texas – A Mexican woman convicted of being an accessory after the fact in aiding cocaine traffickers, and known to international media outlets as the "Queen of the Pacific" for her alleged ties to the Sinaloa drug cartel, was deported to Mexico Tuesday morning by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Avila Beltran, 52, a convicted aggravated felon, was among 129 ICE detainees flown from El Paso to Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City, where she was turned over to Mexican authorities on Aug. 20.
In August 2012, Avila Beltran was paroled into the United States to face U.S. federal charges of conspiring to distribute cocaine in Florida. ICE officers in Miami placed a detainer on Avila Beltran while she was in custody at the Miami Federal Detention Center.
On April 23, Avila Beltran pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to the crime of drug trafficking, and on July 25 she was sentenced to 70 months in federal prison, with credit for time served.
Avila Beltran was released from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons July 30 and turned over to ICE custody. At that time, she was processed to be administratively deported to Mexico as an aggravated felon.
"The deportation of this convicted aggravated felon, and thousands of others, is the result of the robust working relationship ICE has with the government of Mexico," said Adrian P. Macias, field office director of ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations in El Paso. "The partnership goes hand-in-hand with ICE’s commitment to smart, effective immigration enforcement that targets serious criminal aliens who present the greatest risk to the security of our communities, such as those charged with major drug offenses."
Avila Beltran was repatriated via an Interior Repatriation Initiative (IRI) flight. The IRI is a joint agreement between the governments of the United States and Mexico to provide the humane, safe and orderly repatriation of Mexican nationals.
The goal of the IRI, which began as a pilot program in 2012 and was signed as a permanent initiative April 18, is to return Mexican nationals to the interior of Mexico. Having this framework will reduce recidivism and border violence by returning Mexican nationals to their cities of origin, where there is a higher likelihood that they will reintegrate themselves back into their communities, rather than fall victim to human trafficking or other crimes in Mexican border towns.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Alabama man sentenced to 121 months for using Internet to entice minor

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August 21, 2013
Panama City, FL

Alabama man sentenced to 121 months for using Internet to entice minor

PANAMA CITY, Fla. – An Alabama man was sentenced Wednesday to 121 months in federal prison for using the Internet in an attempt to persuade, induce and entice a minor to engage in sexual activity. This case was investigated by the North Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which includes U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the U.S. Marshals Service, the Bay County Sheriff’s Office, the Walton County Sheriff’s Office and the Gainesville Police Department.
Evidence presented during a three day trial in April proved that on June 14, 2012, law enforcement officers posed as a 14-year-old boy named Skylar and responded to an advertisement titled "Last call!!!! – m4m – 1840 (PCB/Laguna Beach)." This advertisement was posted under the casual encounters section of
For the next 48 hours, Thomas Monroe Lee, 40, of Gadsden, engaged in email chats and text messages with Skylar that were sexual in nature. Lee subsequently drove to a location where he had arranged to meet Skylar. Lee planned to transport Skylar back to his Alabama residence to engage in sexual activity. However, once Lee arrived at the location, officers from various law enforcement agencies arrested him for attempted online enticement of a child.
The court also ordered Lee to pay a $1,000 fine and serve seven years of supervised release following his prison term.
"The Internet is a dangerous place, and we are determined to protect and provide justice to victims of Internet crime," said U.S. Attorney Pamela C. Marsh. "Adult predators who seek to harm our children will be pursued and prosecuted by our office in cooperation with our law enforcement partners."
"This man drove across state lines for the sole purpose of engaging in sexual relations with a child he believed to be 14 years old," said Shane Folden, deputy special agent in charge of HSI Tampa, which oversees the agency’s Panama City office that participated in the investigation. "Our joint law enforcement efforts have successfully put this man behind bars for the next 10 years where he can no longer prey on innocent children."
The investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-843-5678.
HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Long Beach mother and son charged federally with sex trafficking teenage girl

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August 22, 2013
Los Angeles, CA

Long Beach mother and son charged federally with sex trafficking teenage girl

LOS ANGELES — A Long Beach man and his mother are expected to appear in federal court Thursday following their indictment for allegedly working together to prostitute a local runaway beginning when the girl was only 15.
Joshua Jerome Davis, 22, and his mother, Sharilyn Kae Anderson, 45, are charged in a five-count indictment handed down by a federal grand jury Thursday with child sex trafficking; coercion and enticement of a minor; transporting a minor; and aiding and abetting. The sex trafficking of a child by force carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years. The indictment also charges the mother and son with prostituting a second victim, an adult, through the use of force, fraud and coercion. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California.
"Child sex trafficking is a silent epidemic affecting too many of our communities," said United States Attorney AndrĂ© Birotte Jr. "In recent weeks, we have seen a significant uptick in the number of child sex trafficking cases being referred to this office. The allegations in this case – a mother and son teamed up to exploit and victimize teenagers – are particularly appalling. Those engaged in this manipulative and abusive conduct need to know that law enforcement in Southern California has joined forces to combat this form of modern-day slavery."
Anderson was taken into custody Wednesday night by Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) vice detectives and special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) based upon a previously filed criminal complaint. She made her initial court appearance Thursday morning.
Her son was arrested Aug. 8 outside a residence he recently leased in North Las Vegas, also based upon a criminal complaint related to the case. Following his arrest, Davis was transferred to Los Angeles, where he remains in custody without bond. Davis is scheduled to appear in court Thursday afternoon for a detention hearing. At the time of Davis' arrest, investigators located and rescued the now 17-year-old female victim, who was with Davis' mother. The victim has been placed in a shelter.
The charges against Davis and Anderson represent the second federal child sex trafficking case arising from a joint probe by the LBPD and HSI in the last two months. The LBPD initially opened the investigation last year after the victim's father reported her missing. The ensuing probe uncovered evidence that Davis, assisted and counseled by his mother, had prostituted the victim at several hotels in Southern California and transported her across state lines to Nevada to engage in commercial sex in Las Vegas casinos.
"We value our partnership with our federal partners to help impact the sexual exploitation of children and to hold those responsible accountable through enforcement and substantial penalties," said Long Beach Chief of Police Jim McDonnell. "Community awareness is a critical component to helping prevent other children from falling prey to this horrible crime."
According to publicly filed court documents, Davis first communicated with the victim on Facebook in 2010, when the victim was 14, leading to an initial in-person meeting in December 2011. Several months later, the victim created an account on a website commonly used to promote prostitution and escort services. She subsequently told investigators she paid Davis approximately 30 percent of the proceeds she earned from commercial sex. Initially, the victim claimed Davis believed she was 19, but when confronted by investigators with a text message from the defendant indicating he knew she was not yet 18, she recanted and said Davis believed she was 17.
"Unfortunately, it's all too common for minors involved in prostitution who are under duress to attempt to shield their pimps from law enforcement by withholding or minimizing information regarding the pimp's knowledge and control over the minor's activities," said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge for HSI Los Angeles. "The coercion of minors into prostitution is unconscionable. HSI will continue to work closely with its law enforcement partners to bring those engaged in the sexual exploitation of juveniles to justice. We owe it to these underage victims who are being robbed of their youth and their innocence."
Court documents allege Anderson helped facilitate the prostitution scheme by transporting the teenage victim and a second victim to hotels to engage in prostitution when her son was unavailable. Anderson also made threats to and assaulted the second victim to intimidate the victim to continue making money for her son by prostituting.
Davis was initially arrested April 23 and booked into the Long Beach City Jail on state pandering and human trafficking violations. According to a case affidavit, Davis told investigators then that he obtained a hotel room for the victim in Las Vegas "out of the goodness of his heart." After posting bond in the state case, investigators say Davis absconded to the Las Vegas area, where he reunited with the victim and resumed his commercial sex activities.
Authorities believe the defendants may have additional unidentified victims. Anyone with information about this matter is encouraged to call HSI's toll-free tip line at 1-866-DHS-2ICE (1-866-347-2423) or submit information using HSI's online tip form at
Victims of human trafficking, or individuals who have knowledge of trafficking activity, may also contact the Long Beach Police Department's Vice Investigations Detail at 562-570-7219. To remain anonymous, the public may visit

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Feds charge 57 people linked to organizations that smuggled narcotics

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August 15, 2013
Los Angeles, CA

Feds charge 57 people linked to organizations that smuggled narcotics from Mexico inside PVC pipe LOS ANGELES – A federal drug task force arrested 18 people Thursday linked to three drug trafficking organizations that smuggled narcotics from Mexico inside PVC pipe typically hidden in the axles of commercial trucks that ended up at truck yards in South Los Angeles and southern Los Angeles County.

The 18 defendants arrested Thursday are among 57 defendants charged in two indictments and one criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court. Authorities continue to search for the remaining defendants. During the course of the probe, which started in early 2011, authorities seized more than 2,400 pounds of methamphetamine, 30 kilograms of cocaine, 16 kilograms of white heroin, 20 kilograms of brown heroin, and more than $1.2 million in suspected narcotics proceeds, along with 18 firearms. Thursday’s enforcement actions resulted in the seizure of an additional seven pounds of methamphetamine, three firearms, four vehicles, approximately $50,000 in cash and an operational methamphetamine laboratory.
"As the means and methods that drug trafficking organizations use evolve, so will law enforcement evolve to meet the challenge," said U.S. Attorney AndrĂ© Birotte Jr. "The allegations here describe a wide-ranging conspiracy to exploit aspects of our nation’s trucking and transportation system and funnel enormous amounts of dangerous narcotics into this country. The arrests we announce today dismantle that conspiracy and disrupt this threat to public safety."
The investigations that led to Thursday’s takedown were conducted by the Los Angeles High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA)/Southern California Drug Task Force, a federally funded group comprised of federal and local law enforcement agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and Internal Revenue Service -Criminal Investigation. The Azusa, South Gate and Whittier police departments along with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department provided substantial assistance with the case.
"Through the cooperation of federal, state and local law enforcement, thousands of pounds of methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin have been seized, with a combined street value in the tens of millions of dollars," said Anthony Williams, DEA special agent in charge. "These drugs were en-route to our communities and neighborhoods. Today’s arrests have taken those responsible for distributing these dangerous drugs off our streets to face justice in federal court."
"The criminal networks targeted in this case exploited one of the nation’s busiest transportation corridors to mask the movement of staggering amounts of contraband - the volume of methamphetamine being smuggled by these organizations is virtually unprecedented," said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge for HSI Los Angeles. "Today, as a result of our collective enforcement efforts, we’ve literally knocked the wheels off of a highly sophisticated drug distribution scheme that had ties to at least five states."
The investigation initially looked into a drug trafficking organization run by Mexico-based Miguel Angel Molinero-Castro. Molinero’s organization used truck yards in South Gate and Wilmington to receive large quantities of controlled substances hidden in PVC pipes that were further concealed in tractor trailer axles.
According to the criminal complaint that charged Molinero and 37 others connected to the alleged drug trafficking ring, Molinero arranged for narcotics to be transported via truck from Mexico to Nogales, Ariz., where co-conspirators would take control of the shipments. The narcotics were then transported either to other distributors in Arizona or to the Los Angeles area.
The criminal complaint charges 38 defendants with two counts: conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances.
A related indictment charges eight defendants involved in another drug distribution ring that also allegedly smuggled narcotics from Mexico into the U.S. inside PVC pipes hidden inside truck axles.
An indictment in a third case charges eight defendants in a conspiracy to distribute heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine. This case concerns narcotics smuggled from Mexico in PVC pipes and distributed from a truck yard in South Gate.
Additional agencies that aided with this investigation and Thursday’s takedown include, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Los Angeles-SRT; the U.S. Marshals Service; the Ventura County Combined Agency Team (VCAT); the California Highway Patrol; the California Multi-Jurisdictional Methamphetamine Enforcement Team; the Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Team; and the Anaheim Police Department.


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Friday, August 16, 2013

ICE Chicago office deports Polish man who made fake NATO bomb threat

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August 14, 2013
Chicago, IL

CHICAGO — A Polish national, who bragged that he could blow up a Chicago bridge during the NATO Summit in Chicago in May 2012, was deported to Poland Wednesday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).
Sebastian Senakiewicz, 25, was repatriated to Warsaw, Poland, Aug. 14 via commercial aircraft, and accompanied by two ERO enforcement officers.
On May 17, 2012, Senakiewicz was arrested by the Chicago Police Department on charges of making a false terrorist threat after claiming to have enough homemade explosives to blow up a train overpass during the NATO Summit in Chicago in May 2012. According to court documents, Sanakiewicz stated that he had built two explosive devices that he had hidden in a hollowed-out "Harry Potter" book at his Chicago residence.
Senakiewicz pleaded guilty in Cook County Circuit Court Nov. 6 and was sentenced to four years in prison. The sentence was appealed and later reduced to Cook County boot camp.
Senakiewicz was released on an unknown date without being turned over to ICE pursuant to an immigration detainer that was lodged May 21 at the Cook County Jail. ERO officers located and arrested Senakiewicz July 17 after he was released from boot camp. Senakiewicz, who was living in the United States illegally, is a self-admitted anarchist and member of the "Black Bloc" anarchist group.
"Mr. Senakiewicz thought he could make threats against the City of Chicago with impunity," said Ricardo Wong, field office director for ERO Chicago. "He was wrong on many levels, and now this convicted criminal has been removed from the United States in the name of public safety."
ERO is focused on smart, effective immigration enforcement that targets serious criminal aliens who present the greatest risk to the security of our communities, such as those charged with or convicted of homicide, rape, robbery, kidnapping, major drug offenses and threats to national security. ERO also prioritizes the arrest and removal of those who game the immigration system, including immigration fugitives or previously deported criminal aliens who have illegally re-entered the country.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Man arrested in connection with Jamaican lottery scam

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Man arrested in connection with Jamaican lottery scam

MIAMI – A Jamaican man was arrested and charged with participating in a telemarketing conspiracy and committing 37 counts of wire fraud. The charges resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Marshals Service.
Oneike Mickhale Barnett, 27, and his co-conspirators ran a lottery scam in Jamaica that fraudulently induced elderly victims in the United States to send them thousands of dollars to cover fees for lottery winnings that the victims had not in fact won. Beginning in October 2008, Barnett and his co-conspirators allegedly made calls from Jamaica to victims using voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Using VoIP, the telephone calls appeared to originate from a U.S. area code. Once Barnett and his co-conspirators made contact with the victims, they would inform the victims they had won cash and prizes. Then, they would persuade the victims to send thousands of dollars in fees to release the money. The victims never received cash or prizes. According to the indictment, Barnett and his co-conspirators convinced victims to send money to middlemen in South Florida, who forwarded the money to Jamaica.
"These individuals are preying on some of the most vulnerable members in our communities," said Alysa D. Erichs, special agent in charge of HSI Miami. "We will continue to work with our partners in Jamaica and other law enforcement agencies to put these criminal enterprises out of business."
"This arrest highlights the joint effort between U.S. and Jamaican law enforcement to prosecute those who prey on our nation’s senior citizens." said Ronald Verrochio, inspector in charge for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. "The mission of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service is to protect consumers by ensuring the nation’s mail system is not used as a tool for fraud."
"The U.S. Marshals Service in the Southern District of Florida, along with the Jamaica Foreign Field Office and the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, remain committed to locating and apprehending criminals who defraud elderly Americans. We will continue to work with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and U.S. Department of Homeland Security on the JOLT task force in the ongoing effort to combat lottery fraud targeting some of our most vulnerable citizens," said Acting U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Florida Neil DeSousa.
"Jamaican lottery scams are a rampant problem stealing from Americans across the country. These fraudsters are preying on older Americans and fleecing them large amounts of money," said Stuart F. Delery, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Division. "The Justice Department will continue to combat this type of fraud and bring those responsible to justice."
"While these scams are based in Jamaica, they transmit considerable amounts of money through south Florida," said U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer. "We will continue to prosecute those who use south Florida as a base from which to pursue this illegal activity."
If convicted, Barnett faces a maximum sentence of 30 years per count.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

ICE's top 10 anti-gang achievements

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TOP STORY: ICE's top 10 anti-gang achievements

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) protects the United States by promoting homeland security and public safety through the criminal and civil enforcement of federal laws governing border control, customs, trade and immigration. To accomplish this mission, ICE coordinates with its federal, state, local and tribal partners to arrest and remove dangerous individuals during anti-gang operations and projects around the country.
Below are 10 of ICE's anti-gang achievements.

Operation Community Shield

ICE conducted its largest ever nationwide gang surge Oct. 1, 2008, during Operation Community Shield.
In the course of the ICE-led operation, 1,759 gang members and associates, criminals and immigration violators were arrested.
ICE announced March 1, 2011, the arrests of 678 gang members and associates from 133 different gangs during Project Southern Tempest, an intensive law enforcement operation executed in 168 U.S. cities targeting gangs affiliated with drug trafficking organizations.
During this operation the ICE arrested the 20,000th gang member since inception of the anti-gang program in 2005.

Project Nefarious

The goal of Project Nefarious was to identify, locate, arrest, prosecute and remove gang members and associates affiliated with human smuggling and trafficking organizations.
ICE announced April 25, 2012, the arrests of 637 gang members and associates from 168 different gangs during Project Nefarious. The operation was executed in 150 U.S. cities and Honduras targeting transnational street gangs, prison gangs and outlaw motorcycle gangs involved with human smuggling and trafficking organizations.

Project Big Freeze

Project Big Freeze was the largest nationwide ICE-led enforcement operation targeting transnational gangs with ties to drug trafficking organizations.
ICE announced Jan. 27, 2010, the arrests of 476 gang members, associates and other criminals.

Crystal Palace

Oct. 16 2012, the results of a long-term probe, which dismantled one of San Diego County's largest single-day weapons seizures, and drug and gun trafficking rings involving members of 13 different Southern California gangs, are announced. Special agents from ICE seized a cache of 60 weapons during the two-year investigation dubbed.
This case was unique because of the number and type of weapons seized. The items included Uzi submachine guns, AR-15 rifles, shotguns, high-powered rifles with optics and laser sighting systems, silencers and a law enforcement Taser.

Operation Barbed Wire

The U.S. Department of the Treasury with the assistance of ICE designated the Latin American gang Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) as a transnational criminal organization Oct. 11, 2012. MS-13 was the first transnational criminal street gang designated as a transnational criminal organization.
MS-13 was 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 is one of the most dangerous criminal gangs in the world today. MS-13 members have been responsible for numerous killings within the United States.

Operation Red Rein

The federal government indicted the majority of the 20th Street clique members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang Oct. 23, 2008.
Twenty-two individuals in the San Francisco Bay Area were indicted on federal racketeering and other charges arising from their participation in the MS-13.

Operation Devil Horns

When the federal government indicted the majority of the 20th Street clique members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang, Oct. 22, 2008, Danilo Velasquez, aka "Triste," assumed leadership.
Velasquez was sentenced to life in federal prison Feb. 15, 2012, on racketeering-related charges arising from Operation Devil Horns, a long-term probe led by ICE. Velasquez was described by a federal judge as a "vicious murderer."

Operation Red Tidings

Federal and local authorities announced the indictment May 3, 2012, of 19 members of a South San Francisco street gang on racketeering and other federal charges.
This indictment and the related arrests served as a warning to gangs about the consequences of using violence and fear to maintain control of their turf.
Three ICE special agents with were injured during the enforcement action. They were transported to a Bay area hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. The indictment was the culmination of investigations originally initiated by the Daly City Police Department and the South San Francisco Police Department following separate shootings in those communities. The Daly City shooting occurred Dec. 18, 2010, and left three people injured. Four days later, a shooting in South San Francisco killed three individuals and wounded three others.

Rancho San Pedro Busts

More than 1,300 federal and local law enforcement officers fanned out April 28, 2011, across the Los Angeles harbor area to arrest 80 alleged members and associates of the Rancho San Pedro gang. The charges stem from a sweeping investigation involving more than a dozen federal, state and local agencies. During the course of the investigation, informants and undercover officers purchased 90 firearms along with significant quantities of cocaine, crack cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana. During the takedown, officers seized an additional 14 firearms and a silencer.
The Los Angeles City Attorney's Office has filed a gang injunction and nuisance abatement actions against the gang. This is the first time a gang injunction and nuisance abatement lawsuits have been filed simultaneously in conjunction with the takedown of a major Southern California street gang.