HOUSTON - Dozens of people in Houston were arrested as part of a nationwide gang round up.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials are calling the operation the largest gang surge in Homeland Security investigations history.
The round up was part of a six week long investigation, according to ICE. A total of 1,378 people were reportedly arrested, including approximately 60 people in the Houston area.
Officials say 238 firearms, thousands of ounces of narcotics, and $491,763 were also seized.
“This has been what we call a gang surge. We develop certain targets. We focus on areas that the public safety is being negatively impacted by gangs. We develop target packages and go out and arrest gang members for various different violations of law. Some federal some state,” said Sean McElroy, Homeland Security Investigations Deputy Special Agent in Charge
Of those arrested, ICE reports 1,095 suspects are confirmed gang members affiliated with organizations like the Bloods, Surenos, MS-13, and Crips.
933 U.S. citizens and 445 foreign nationals from 21 countries were arrested in the gang surge, according to ICE.
“This is a disruption activity. We understand some of these folks may be released and may get out of jail, but at the end of the day our focus is to identify the gang infrastructure and take those infrastructures down and dismantle those gang organizations. Because the gangs do have a specific organizational structure,” said McElroy.
McElroy says Homeland Security Investigations teamed up with the Texas Anti-Gang Center as well as other state and local partners for the operation.