Federal agents swooped into the Lowcountry, plucked out nearly two dozen illegal immigrants with gang ties and deported them.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's four-month Operation Community Shield focused on gangs and netted 1,759 people across the country. Twenty-five were arrested locally with the help of North Charleston's Gang Intervention Team. They were all charged with being in the country illegally.
"We're targeting what we think are dangerous criminals. We think it's been a success in Charleston," said Charleston's resident agent in charge. He asked that his name not be used because gangs are known to target agents and their families.
Most of the arrests were made in the North Charleston area in communities with a high concentration of Hispanic residents. Those communities include the area of Stall and Midland Park roads, North Charleston's border with Hanahan along Remount Road and a concentration of apartments below Charleston Air Force Base on Dorchester Road.
Fifteen of the 25 people arrested locally were associates of the Surenos (Southerners) gang.
Of 1,759 people arrested nationwide in Operation Community Shield, which wrapped up in September, nearly 1,500 were associated with gangs and other criminal activity. Nearly 30 percent of them had violent criminal histories with charges ranging from drug and firearm violations to attempted murder.
The sweep netted 17 gang leaders, including accused Inland Empire gang leader Roberto Dominguez in Atlanta and accused Uptown Gang leader Kinske St. Vilus in Miami, a press release said.
Read more in tomorrow's editions of The Post and Courier.
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