SAN ANTONIO- A nationwide operation to put gang members behind bars has led to nearly 1,400 arrests, including 76 in the San Antonio area.
It's taken place over a course of six weeks and has become the largest gang crackdown led by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to date. They said identifying and capturing these criminals takes major help from local law enforcement as well.
From Brownsville to north of Austin 1,378 arrests have been made in the anti-gang operation that officials are calling "Project New Dawn."
Of those arrested, more than 1,000 people were taken in on federal and/ or state criminal charges, according to Homeland Security Investigations.
"Majority of the arrests come from narcotics trafficking, weapons trafficking, human smuggling and trafficking," Vicente said. "Majority of those [members] were from the Tango Orejons organization, Mexican Mafia and Bloods."
Nabbed alongside the criminals were 238 firearms, nearly 800 ounces of cocaine and 550 ounces of meth. More than $490,000 was also seized.
"It has the immediate effect of taking that violent element right off the street," Vicente said. They're taking violence off the street both here at home and abroad. Of those arrested, nearly 1,000 of them were U.S. citizens. More than 400 were foreign nationals from 21 different countries. Vicente said local law enforcement plays a big role in the round-ups.
"The uniformed officers and detectives, they're out on the streets and know their assigned areas very, very well and are a constant source of information," Vicente said.
As arrests are made authorities are able to obtain information from those suspects and criminals to keep disrupting and dismantling dangerous gangs.