March 1, 2011 / 7:43 PM / 9 years ago

Nearly 700 arrested in anti-drug gang operation: ICE

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — Law enforcement agencies arrested nearly 700 gang members and associates from December through February during an anti-drug trafficking operation dubbed Project Southern Tempest, Immigration and Customs Enforcement said on Tuesday.

ICE said those arrested came from 133 different gangs and the operation was executed in 168 American cities.

Through such operations ICE “will continue to disrupt and dismantle these transnational gangs and rid our streets not only of drug dealers, but the violence associated with the drug trade,” ICE Director John Morton said in a statement.

The transnational street gangs targeted by the operation were also associated with human and weapons smuggling and trafficking, among other crimes, ICE said.

In addition to the arrests, agents seized 86 firearms, eight pounds of methamphetamine, 30 pounds of marijuana, one pound of cocaine, and more than $70,000.

The majority of those arrested were foreign nationals, from 24 countries.

Reporting by Wendell Marsh; Editing by Jerry Norton

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