Four foreign nationals with ties to Southern California gangs were arrested this week as part of a larger and ongoing crackdown on illegal immigrant gang members, authorities said Wednesday.
The arrests bring to more than 500 the number of area gang members arrested in the last two years as part of the nationwide operation, said Robert Schoch, special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Los Angeles.
Among those arrested in the past week were Pedro Barboza-Serrano, 40, a Mexican national and reputed member of the Eastside Longos, who was previously convicted on drug, robbery and burglary charges, officials said.
The records of illegal immigrants like Barboza-Serrano will be shared among police, the Los Angeles city attorney's office, the U.S. attorney's office and ICE, officials said, in an effort to crack down on transnational gangs.
The result is that more illegal immigrant gang members who previously have been deported and then returned to the U.S. will face federal charges of illegal reentry that carry sentences of up to seven years in prison.
"They're not just going to get taken on a bus and dropped off in Tijuana," said George S. Cardona, acting U.S. attorney in L.A.
In the last three months, federal authorities have indicted 124 gang members in Southern California, including 56 who face federal criminal charges. Those charges include drug and firearms offenses and reentry into the U.S. after being deported.
Of those 56, 36 are in custody; the others remain at large, officials said. Most of those indicted were Mexican nationals, but others were from Guatemala, El Salvador and Belize.