Federal immigration officials said a nationwide crackdown on gangs has led to 26 arrests in Minneapolis and surrounding communities.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said many of those arrested were connected to gangs with ties to drug trafficking organizations in Mexico, South America and Asia.
ICE spokesman Tim Counts said the Twin Cities arrests involved immigration violations, so the suspects could be deported. Counts said while ICE agents worked closely with state and local law enforcement agencies, he said federal operations like the so-called Project Big Freeze have a big advantage.
"And that's not only to take gang members off the streets, but remove them from the country entirely. Now it's true, sometimes those individuals come back, but anyone who reenters the country after being deported can face criminal charges including a prison sentence up to 20 years," Counts said.
Nationwide, the operation resulted in the arrest of more than 450 alleged gang members in 83 cities.