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Homeland Security cracks down on gangs, arresting more than 600

| Thursday, May 1, 2014, 8:12 p.m.

WASHINGTON — More than 600 suspected gang members have been arrested in the Homeland Security Department's largest crackdown on street gangs, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said on Thursday.

ICE agents, along with local authorities in 179 cities, arrested 638 suspected gang members over a monthlong period in March and April.

ICE said 78 suspected gang members were arrested on federal charges; 447 on state charges; and 113 on administrative immigration charges.

More than 400 had violent criminal histories, including seven wanted for murder.

“These are bad people with bad motives from bad organizations,” said Thomas Winkowski, the principal deputy assistant secretary for ICE.

Arrests were made across the country.

Winkowski said nearly three-quarters of the suspected gang members belonged to the Surenos, an umbrella group of street gangs with ties to Latin America that includes the ultraviolent Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13

According to an indictment unsealed in Maryland, nine of the gang's members are accused of crimes including murder, extorting high school students, running brothels, witness tampering and obstructing justice.

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