Operation Community Shield catches 26 gang members

By Jamel Major - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Hispanic business owners in the Mid-South are supporting an effort by federal officials to find Hispanic gang members and deport them.

This month's sweep led to the arrest of 26 men from Latin America.  Business owners like Angelica Tejeda are on alert.

"If we see something suspicious, we just call each other," Tejeda said, "and we are also meeting with other business owners."

The arrests were part of a national effort called Operation Community Shield that targets international gangs.  According to authorities, some of the men were affiliated with the Surenos-13 and the Vatos Locos gang.  The men were in the country illegally and will face deportation.

Tejeda said gang activity is becoming all too familiar.

"We notice all the graffiti in the back of the building, so we just try to cover it up and hopefully they won't do it again," Tejeda said.

Temple Black with Immigration and Customs Enforcement said officials were not targeting illegal immigrants but specifically going after gang members.

"This was targeted at criminal gang members," Black said, "and if criminal gang members are in the area, then we're going to go after them and arrest them and deport them."

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