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MILWAUKEE - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today the arrest of 21 known gang members and associates in an operation undertaken last week in metropolitan Milwaukee. 14 of those taken into custody are Mexican nationals and known members of the Mexican Posse street gang. 12 are in the U.S. illegally; two are lawful permanent residents whose criminal histories render them eligible for deportation. The remaining seven were arrested by the Milwaukee Police Department on outstanding warrants and state drug charges. Among them, individuals with outstanding warrants, some facing new drug charges and immigration violators.
"Milwaukee and Wisconsin residents are 21 times safer today than they were last week. Criminal illegal aliens come not to contribute to Wisconsin but to unlawfully enrich themselves and destroy lives," Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said. "They threaten public peace, law enforcement, the criminal justice system. I've ensured that Department of Justice resources are available to combat this threat. We will work with ICE to remove these unwelcome guests. I am grateful to the agents and officers that execute these dangerous arrests of known criminals with no ties to Wisconsin except their criminal activity," said Van Hollen.
Most of those arrested have extensive criminal histories; some of their convictions and arrests include: carrying a concealed weapon, theft, robbery with use of force, reckless use of a firearm and drug possession.
Among those arrested in the Milwaukee area were:
Transnational street gangs have significant numbers of foreign-national members and are frequently involved in human smuggling and trafficking; narcotics smuggling and distribution; identity theft and benefit fraud; money laundering and bulk cash smuggling; weapons smuggling and arms trafficking; cyber crimes; export violations; and other crimes with a nexus to the border.
Like any street gang, these transnational gangs also have a propensity toward violence. Their members commit a number of violent crimes including robbery, extortion, assault, rape and murder. Nearly 50% of those arrested nationwide are members or associates of gangs with ties to drug trafficking cartels in Mexico, South American and Asia.
Under Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen's leadership, the Wisconsin Department of Justice has become a more active partner and participant in these cooperative enforcement operations concentrating on criminal aliens. Since October 2008 when this partnership began 319 criminal illegal aliens have been arrested.
"The success of this operation speaks for itself. These criminals are now out of Wisconsin neighborhoods and off the streets," said Attorney General Van Hollen. He went on "I am grateful to the ICE officials with whom we have and will continue to work cooperatively."