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A total of 81 foreign nationals are facing federal and state criminal charges or deportation following a multi-agency enforcement operation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to crack down on violent street gangs in the greater San Diego area, police said.
The latest arrests are the result of one of the largest gang enforcement operations carried out as part of ICE's Operation Community Shield in San Diego.
Beginning last Monday, more than 20 ICE agents, assisted by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department and Escondido Police Department, fanned out across communities in the North County and several other communities within the San Diego city limits. They searched for documented foreign national gang members and their associates.
"This crackdown on street violence demonstrates ICE's commitment to protecting our communities from the escalating public safety threats linked to gang activities," said Miguel Unzueta, special agent in charge of ICE investigations in San Diego. "ICE will continue to collaborate with our law enforcement partners to prevent street gangs from thriving in San Diego neighborhoods."
During last week's operation, ICE agents arrested 38 gang members or gang associates and 43 criminal undocumented immigrants. Of those, six were charged in federal court in connection with felony re-entry after deportation, according to police.
The five men and one woman, all Mexican nationals, were previously deported criminals with prior convictions for drug offenses and violent crimes, including multiple apprehensions for illegally re-entering the U.S. after deportation. They are now facing federal charges for re-entry after deportation, a felony that carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
In addition to the federal prosecutions, nine others arrested during the operation by ICE agents are facing criminal prosecution in state court on various criminal charges, including drug offenses, burglary, robbery and violation of a gang injunction.
Most of the remaining targets were taken into custody on administrative immigration violations. They will remain in ICE custody and scheduled for a deportation hearing before an immigration judge.
Last summer ICE agents in San Diego netted 61 foreign national gang arrests in a similar multi-agency enforcement crackdown during a two-week period.

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