Federal immigration officials have arrested 50 people, most of them alleged gang members and associates, as part of a national crackdown on gangs with roots in other countries.
Tim Counts of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement say that of those arrested, 38 individuals were here in the country illegally and are now facing deportation. They include people from Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador and Ecuador.
Counts said the gangs were a threat to Twin Cities neighborhoods.
"Gangs exist to engage in criminal activity, whether it's trafficking drugs or people or engaging in weapons violations. In fact, among those people we've arrested, there are a range of criminal convictions - assaults, illegal drug peddling, disorderly conduct, burglary, a whole range of offenses. That's what gang members do," Counts said.
The roundup, called "Operation Community Shield," also involved local and state law enforcement agencies.
The crackdown is unrelated to a new St. Paul police program targeting local gangs.